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anonymous  January 07, 2009 3:10 PM



CAN GOD USE YOU? December 27, 2008 8:29 PM

Dearly Beloved,

CAN GOD USE YOU?

“...God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’” (Luke 1:26-28, NIV).

The Christmas season for the year has come and gone. Regardless of the debate of some people that Christmas is not “Christian,” let me draw out a lesson from one of the personalities of the biblical stories related to the season. The Virgin Mary was the second most important personality in the Nativity stories. God specially used her to be the vessel of the delivery of the Baby Jesus.

The virgin birth of the Messiah had been prophesied hundreds of years before it actually happened (see Isaiah 7:14). There were many virgins in Israel during the time of Mary. She was highly favoured to be the mother of the Savior. However, some qualities in her distinguished her from all virgins and women of her time. She was pious. She was virtuous. She was humble. She was faithful. She was not doubtful. She was ready to be an instrument in the hands of God, even when it seemed that such readiness would bring possible rejection from her fiancé and disgrace from the society. No wonder, she was highly favored and blessed (see Luke 1:28, 48).

God is still looking for people that He will use for His plans and purposes today. Can He find you useful for His service? Are you pious? Are you humble? Are you faithful? Are you not doubtful? Are you ready to be an instrument in His hands regardless of the seeming bad consequences this may bring you in the world?

God is ready to highly favored and blessed you. Be ready to be of good use to Him as we are about to enter another year. Make yourself available to Him. You will not regret doing so.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
“SPECIAL DAYS MINISTRY”
Part of my determination to be of good use by God through the Internet by ministering to people throughout the world has made me to be identifying with people in my online ministry by rejoicing with them praying for them and sending them prayer wishes through email/e-card and SMS. I tag this aspect of the ministry “Special Days Ministry.” You also can be part of this. Just let me know your special days—birthday, wedding anniversary, the day you become born again, and other eventful days in your life that you will like me to remember you. Send your full names, email address and mobile phone numbers (include country code if not Nigeria) to me at spiritualdigest@yahoo.com. Happy New Year (2009) in advance!

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 3:07 PM



FOR BETTER FOR WORSE December 20, 2008 7:53 PM

Dearly Beloved,

FOR BETTER FOR WORSE

“Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:24-25, KJV).

Marriage is one of the oldest institutions created by God. God has many reasons for instituting it. Likewise, there are many guidelines for an ideal marriage. These reasons and guidelines have to be known and followed to the letter if one wants to maintain the ideal marriage as it was originally in the mind of God. It is unfortunate, however, that people now create different reasons and guidelines for marriage. No wonder, many marriages are in shambles, and cases of divorce and remarriage are common, especially in the western world, even among Christians!

This write-up is not a comprehensive treatise on an ideal marriage, nevertheless, it aims at pointing out a pivotal issue that most people do not take note of, and this is ruining many marriages today. This has to do with “leaving and cleaving” in marriage. The Bible says that a man will leave his parents (and by inference all other relations) and cleave to (or preferably unite with) his wife. He puts aside his former relationships and way of living and thinking, and starts a new relationship, and a new way of living and thinking with his wife who is now one with him. It has to be emphasized here that to cleave in this context means to be glued together for life. That is, the man and his wife are together “for better for worse” for life! Most people nowadays do not want to hear that expression. However, the more we are ready to understand this and accept it, the better our marriages in particular and the society in general will be. The man and his wife cleave together, they become one, and they are not ashamed in spite of their “nakedness.” Have you ever wondered about the nature of this “nakedness”?

My first and only marriage with my darling wife was ten years old some days ago! This is not a big deal to many people in this part of the world where the institution of marriage is still held in high esteem. However, it is a great feat or rather something unimaginable to many people in the western world. I have been cleaved to my wife for the past ten years, and both of us were, and still are, not ashamed of each other because we have determined to live for life for better for worse. Ours is not a perfect marriage. There is never one! We have determined to enjoy life together, and to endure it together.

Are you married? Let there be no shame in your marriage. Be determined to cleave to your spouse for life. Are you still single? Pray that the Lord will help you to be able to have an ideal marriage as He originally planned it. Is your marriage in crisis? Go back to the original plan of God for marriage. Ask Him for help. He will help you if you allow Him.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
1. This message is dedicated to my dearest wife, Opeyemi, for sharing her life “for better for worse” with me for these past ten years.
2. I know that this message will generate many reactions. Send (or copy) your reaction to me at <spiritualdigest@yahoo.com>. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 3:03 PM



START NOW! December 14, 2008 4:59 AM

Dearly Beloved,

START NOW!

“I will always thank the LORD; I will never stop praising him” (Psalm 34:1, TEV).

“...always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:20, NIV).

I have been composing and sending text messages to people, and people have been sending text messages to me. However, I received a text message from an online friend early this month that really touched me. Here is its content: “You can spend the remaining days of this year asking God for what He has not done. But you can choose a better option thanking Him for all He has done for you this year. You do not have to wait until December 31 before you thank Him for the year. Have a THANKFUL month.”

Truly, people (including me) tend to still be looking unto God for one thing or the other that He has not done for them this year without considering those things He has done and praise Him for them. We may even be thinking that the time to appreciate Him for His goodness should be the end of the year. However, the message of that text message is pertinent to us. We have to start thanking God for the year now even without knowing what the remaining days have in stock for us. The Lord that has helped thus far will make us see the end of the year and even do more than what we are expecting from Him.

Start now to thank God for the year. Look back and be grateful for what He has done in your life. Even, if He has not done what you want from Him this year, the remaining days of the year are more than enough for Him to surprise you. Praise Him for who He is in your life. Thank Him for what He has done, is doing, and will do. He will perfect His plans and purpose in your life. Do not wait until the end of the year. Start now!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:56 PM



THE LORD WILL PROTECT YOU December 07, 2008 4:47 AM

Dearly Beloved,

THE LORD WILL PROTECT YOU

“The LORD will protect you from all danger; he will keep you safe. He will protect you as you come and go now and forever” (Psalm 121:7-8, TEV).

The LORD has promised in many places in the Bible to protect His people from all danger (see Job 5:19-27; Psalms 41:2; 91:9-16; 97:10; 145:20; 121:3-8; Proverbs 2:8; 3:23-26; 2 Timothy 4:18). These promises were literally fulfilled in the lives of some people including me recently. The men of the underworld invaded the city where I reside some days ago and unleashed terror on the residents, killing many police officers and civilians as they freely robbed some banks in the city. I was in one of the downtown churches with a pastor-colleague when the operation started. The Lord protected me and I got back home safely that day. However, my testimony was not as spectacular as those of another pastor-colleague and a member of his church. The pastor was caught up in one of the hot spots of the operation while the member was caught up in another spot. The daredevil armed robbers killed two police officers in the presence of the pastor. The church member was in his vehicle for over an hour lying down inside the vehicle as the robbers were shooting sporadically everywhere. Bullets shattered the windscreen of the vehicle while there was another bullet mark on the door of the vehicle. It was a real protection of God!

These testimonies are just a vivid example of the protection of God. He has been protecting people even in every normal situation. If He opens our eyes to see the dangers from which He is protecting us everyday, we would be more grateful for His unending protection.

As this year is running to an end and throughout the days of your life, the Lord will continue to protect you. He will save you from all evils. He will guide and guard you in all your ways. He will preserve your life in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:53 PM



SO SICK, STILL FULL OF THANKSGIVING November 02, 2008 9:27 AM

Dearly Beloved,

I was so sick, but also so busy with my research on pastors and the use of the Internet last week that I could not compose a new message nor interpret it into Esperanto, the other language through which I send my weekly messages. Therefore, I decided to resend one of my previous messages originally sent on February 26, 2006. As we enter the month of thanksgiving, this message is very relevant:


SO SICK, STILL FULL OF THANKSGIVING

"Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, NIV).

My three-year-old daughter surprised me recently. She was so sick that she could not go to school. She even vomited all the food, drink and drugs that we gave her that day. However, when I asked her to pray as she was about to sleep that night, she thanked God for every activity of the day she could remember. Amazingly, she did not remember to pray that God should heal her.

I later prayed for divine healing for her, but that prayer of thanksgiving, even when she was so sick, touched me and made me to think about my prayer life. How many times do I remember to thank God for His goodness over me when I am in distress? Prophet Habakkuk was a good example here. He was complaining about why the wicked prospered while the righteous suffered. It seemed God did not act as he had expected. Yet he concluded his prophecy with praises of God because he knew that there was a benevolent God behind the seemingly unpleasant circumstance. He would rather rejoice in the Lord even in his precarious situation. He concluded his prophecy thus: "Though the fig-tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will be joyful in God my Saviour. The Sovereign LORD is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights" (Habakkuk 3:17-19, NIV).

Job, in his anguish praised God. Why? He remembered in his pains that God's purpose is always good. Hear him, "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him…" (Job 13:15, NIV); "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God…" (Job 19:25-26, NIV); and "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold" (Job 23:10, NIV).

What are you passing through? Are you so sick, so poor, so sad, so weak, or so what? Praise the Lord! He still cares for you. The psalmist boasted: "Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalm 23:4, NIV). Be full of thanksgiving in all circumstances. That is God's will for you!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
While I really thank God for the strength He gave me during the fieldwork of my research on pastors and the use of the Internet (as part of the requirements for my postgraduate study) last week in spite of my sickness, I want you to join me in prayers for more strength to do the research, and especially for the success of the whole exercise.

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:42 PM



WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PORTION? October 18, 2008 9:19 PM

Dearly Beloved,

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PORTION?

“Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isaiah 3:10-11, NIV).

Every right thinking man wants good things happen to him. He wishes good things for himself. He does good things to himself. Nevertheless, good things cannot be his portion if he is not good to other people.

The Lord told Prophet Isaiah to inform His people about what He planned to do for them according to what they were doing: good things for the righteous and disaster for the wicked. This is not a matter of either God is good or not. It is a matter of reaping what one sows. Consider the following verses:
“He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head” (Psalm 7:14-16, NIV).
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8, NIV).
“Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:11-12, NIV).

What would be your portion if God decides to reward people according to their deeds today? Would you be rewarded with good things or with bad things? While your entering His kingdom depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ, your rewards both on earth and in heaven depend on you.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:40 PM



WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PORTION? October 18, 2008 9:19 PM

Dearly Beloved,

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR PORTION?

“Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds. Woe to the wicked! Disaster is upon them! They will be paid back for what their hands have done” (Isaiah 3:10-11, NIV).

Every right thinking man wants good things happen to him. He wishes good things for himself. He does good things to himself. Nevertheless, good things cannot be his portion if he is not good to other people.

The Lord told Prophet Isaiah to inform His people about what He planned to do for them according to what they were doing: good things for the righteous and disaster for the wicked. This is not a matter of either God is good or not. It is a matter of reaping what one sows. Consider the following verses:
“He who is pregnant with evil and conceives trouble gives birth to disillusionment. He who digs a hole and scoops it out falls into the pit he has made. The trouble he causes recoils on himself; his violence comes down on his own head” (Psalm 7:14-16, NIV).
“Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life” (Galatians 6:7-8, NIV).
“Let him who does wrong continue to do wrong; let him who is vile continue to be vile; let him who does right continue to do right; and let him who is holy continue to be holy. Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done” (Revelation 22:11-12, NIV).

What would be your portion if God decides to reward people according to their deeds today? Would you be rewarded with good things or with bad things? While your entering His kingdom depends on your relationship with Jesus Christ, your rewards both on earth and in heaven depend on you.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:38 PM



YOU CAN BE USEFUL! October 11, 2008 10:35 PM

Dearly Beloved,

YOU CAN BE USEFUL!

"Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11, NKJV).

John Mark was a failure to Barnabas and Paul during their first missionary journey. He was initially their helper (Acts 13:5), but later abandoned them (Acts 13:13). His action irritated Paul so much that when Paul and Barnabas were preparing for the second missionary journey, Paul did not think it wise to take him, but Barnabas thought otherwise. The disagreement on this matter was so sharp that Paul and Barnabas parted company. Barnabas took Mark and went in one direction while Paul took another person, Silas, and went in another direction (see Acts 15:36-41). However, the seemingly unwanted Mark became useful for Paul in the latter days of his ministry to the extent that Paul had to write Timothy to bring Mark to him "for he is useful to me for ministry" (2 Timothy 4:11, NKJV).

There have been cases of disappointment in part of some people that have made us to write them off. We have seen such people as a failure, and have thought that nothing good can come out of them. We may even, like Paul, refuse to give them a second chance, and be ready to quarrel with anyone that is ready to bring out the goodness in them. This ought not to be so. No one is a write-off. Even, if the person has failed several times. The person can still be useful later. Be an encourager like Barnabas, and help that person to become useful.

Probably, you are the seeming failure. You have given up on yourself because you have disappointed people and yourself when you ought to deliver. Do not give up. You can still be useful. If no one believes in you or encourages you, believe in yourself that you can make it and be useful to yourself and to others around you. Encourage yourself. Like it happened to John Mark, somebody, even that person that has lost hope in you, will look for your help one day. You can be useful!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:34 PM



WHY WOULD YOU CURSE? October 06, 2008 6:42 AM

Dearly Beloved,

WHY WOULD YOU CURSE?

"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse" (Romans 12:14, NIV).

"Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing" (1 Peter 3:9, NIV).

As I was sending out my usual prayer wishes for the beginning of the month by SMS early in the morning on the first day of this month, I received a call from an unknown person who was mad at me for sending an SMS to her mobile phone. In spite of introducing myself to her and explanation, she did not hesitate to rain curses on me because she received a prayer wish from an unknown person. Even my blessings to counter her curses could not stop her from the cursing. I later sent another SMS full of blessings to her, though she did not react to the second SMS.

The incident made me to wonder: why would one curse another person? It is understandable if one curses someone or something because of something bad that the person or thing has done, or something good that the person or thing did not do. However, to curse because of something good that comes from an unknown source is unimaginable to me.

Many biblical injunctions teach against cursing, rather, they instruct that we should bless people, even people that do bad things to us (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28; Romans 12:14, 19-21; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 1 Peter 3:9). Jesus Christ and other early Christians exemplified this (see Luke 23:34; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 4:12-13; 1 Peter 2:21-23).

There should not be any reason whatsoever for cursing other people. Even when people do things that deserve your curse, bless them and leave room for God to judge (see Romans 12:19). You are called to be a blessing to others (1 Peter 2:21; 3:9). Why would you curse?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB

Let me use this medium to request again for the mobile phone numbers of people that want to be receiving prayer wishes/quotes by SMS from me (if you are not already in the list). Write me at spiritualdigest@yahoo.com. Remember to include your country code if you are not in Nigeria. In addition, if you have given me your number before and you have not been receiving frequently from me by SMS, please let me know. God bless you!

  
 

 October 06, 2008 10:26 AM

There's a time for everything....Ecclesiastes 3:1-22 (depending on what translation you have)



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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:30 PM


Group History THEY ARE IMPORTANT September 20, 2008 9:25 PM

Dearly Beloved,

THEY ARE IMPORTANT

"God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them" (Genesis 1:27, NIV).

"...and our daughters will be like pillars carved to adorn a palace" (Psalm 144:12, NIV).

Most societies in the world are male-dominant ones. The male child is more preferred than the female child is. However, both male and female children have their roles in the society. The Lord that created them male and female in the beginning did not make any mistake. At times, female children are more useful than the male children are especially when it comes to caring of the parents and taking care of the home. This was evident in my family recently when I came back from a shopping with a colleague that took near a whole day. As I arrived, my six-year-old daughter intuitively came to the master bedroom to give me drinking water with some pieces local baked cake as refreshment before my wife could present a befitting meal for me. My wife and I appreciated the effort of the girl, and wondered if her elder brother could think of such care.

Many families that have only daughters do not appreciate what God has done for them. Many men in this part of the world can even go to the extent of marrying another wife in order to have sons that they consider heirs and more important than the daughters they have. Many men would not give their girl child the same opportunity of education and exposure as the male child because they consider the girl child as less important. Nothing can be far from the truth. Girl child is very important, and she should be treated so.

There were many important women in the Bible and in history. Such women in the Old Testament were: (a) Miriam (Exodus 15:20-21; Micah 6:4); (b) Deborah (Judges 4:1-5); (c) Huldah (2 Chronicles 34:22-28); (d) Esther (see the Book of Esther); etc. In the New Testament, Mary, the mother of Jesus was outstanding among women (Luke 1:28, 42, 48). Apart from her, there were also many women who had public ministries for God. This included Philip's daughters, Phoebe, Priscilla, Junia, Tryphena, Tryphosa, Persis, Euodia, and Syntyche (see Romans 16, Philippians 4:2). All these women, and many more today, mark the beginning of the fulfilment of Joel’s prophecy of a day that women as well as men would be the instruments of the Holy Spirit’s work (Joel 2:28-29). Nowadays, in spite of the fact that women are mainly homemakers, they have their own active roles, though not as prominent as men do, in the society. There were, and still are, women leaders that have taken brave steps to better the lots of the people.

Women are created in the image of God as helpers suitable for men. They have their roles to play in the world and the propagation of the gospel of Christ. Regardless of attempts by men to relegate them to the background, the women are equal spiritually with men, and they can perform any role in the church and in any other place. They are important!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:27 PM


Group History “ME I NO GO SUFFER...” November 30, 2008 4:08 AM

Dearly Beloved,

“ME I NO GO SUFFER...”

“For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him” (Philippians 1:29, NIV).

There is a popular chorus in pidgin English in my part of the world that goes thus: “Me I no go suffer, I no go beg for bread. God of miracle, na my Papa o. God of miracle, na my papa o.” The literal meaning in the conventional English is, “I will not suffer; I will not beg for bread. God of miracle is my Father. God of miracle is my Father.” The song is a positive confession of who a Christian is in the Lord and what would happen to him. However, the song is partly one of such false hopes that make many Christians to lose the essence of being a Christian.

The Bible in many places teaches about the Christian suffering. Consider these verses:
“I have told you this so that you will have peace by being united to me. The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!" (John 16:33, TEV).
“In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12, NIV).
“For even when we were with you, [you know] we warned you plainly beforehand that we were to be pressed with difficulties and made to suffer affliction, just as to your own knowledge it has [since] happened” (1 Thessalonians 3:4, AMP).
“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death” (Philippians 3:10, NIV).
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12, NIV).

Nevertheless, this suffering is not suffering for wrongdoing but suffering for being a Christian (see 1 Peter 4:12-16; Philippians 1:29), and it is certain that the Lord will see the Christian through the suffering and make him/her come out of it like a purified gold (see Psalm 23:4; 66:10; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi 3:3; 1 Peter 4:12-13).

The implication of this is that the Christian should be prepared for suffering all the time. However, he should “not lose heart. [Because] outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, NIV).

It is indeed good to positively confess that we will not suffer. However, we should always remember that Christian life involves suffering in this world. The good news is that God has given Christian victory over the suffering, and He will be with the Christian to go through the suffering successfully.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
I have just created a weblog http://thewordthruthenet.blogspot.com/. You can follow my weekly messages there and give your comments. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:25 PM



TAKE HIS YOKE! November 16, 2008 5:36 AM

Dearly Beloved,

TAKE HIS YOKE!

“Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30, NIV).

A Bible commentator defined a yoke as “a bar or frame of wood by which two draft animals, especially oxen, are joined at the necks or heads for working together, for drawing a load or pulling a plow.” It is a primitive tool used mostly by farmers. It takes two animals for a yoke to be effective. No animal can work effectively without a yoke.

A yoke has been used figuratively to mean many other things. Mostly, people have been using it to mean suffering or affliction. Therefore, to hear anything like taking or having a yoke connotes a bad feeling. In fact, a yoke speaks some hardship. However, Jesus Christ enjoins us to take His yoke! (Matthew 11:29-30). What is His yoke? What does it mean to take it?

To take the yoke of Jesus Christ upon us means to put ourselves into the relation of servants and subjects to Him. It means to conduct ourselves accordingly, in a careful obedience to all His commands, and a cheerful submission to all His disposals. It is to yield ourselves totally to Him. He has appointed this yoke. He has Himself drawn in it before us, for He learned obedience. He wants anyone that will take His yoke to also learn some characters from Him. These characters include humility, gentility, diligence, submission, patience and other Christ-like attributes. In spite of its seeming hardship, the yoke of Jesus Christ is easier and lighter than any other yoke. No wonder, anyone who takes it finds rest in Him.

People are taking many yokes today. No one is exempted. What kind of or whose yoke are you taking? Are you yoked with people, belief, value, or situation that are heavier than you? Yield to the advice of Jesus Christ. Take His yoke. Commit yourself to Him. His yoke is easy and light. Learn from Him and find rest for your soul.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
If you are on Skype, follow this link to join me there:
http://www.skype.com/go/joinpublicchat?chat&skypename=spiritualdigest&topic=God+bless+you&blob=FNxe7bsXbXxTvLxUoj8OczRivpxyWbkU1VibRde7RMW0GmrWSwYiVgQzc7F6nO6zbqknx80

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:22 PM


Group History LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY! September 13, 2008 10:09 PM

Dear Beloved,

LORD, TEACH US TO PRAY!

"One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples'" (Luke 11:1, IV).

Our Lord Jesus Christ while on earth knew the importance of prayer, and He did not play with it. He started His earthly ministry with prayer and ended it with prayer. One of the instances of His prayer life is the verse quoted above.

As He finished His prayer, one of His disciples came to Him asked Him to teach them (i.e. the disciples) how to pray. This indicates that they had been seeing Him praying, and probably they had partaken in His time of prayer, but they did not know how to pray. The Bible does not disclose the identity of this particular disciple. However, one of them asked, and it led to the teaching of what we know today as "The Lord's Prayer."

The prayer life of a Christian cannot be over-emphasized. It is proper for us to meditate beforehand what we are to ask of God, and to arrange our thoughts, that we may not come thoughtlessly into His presence.

As Christians, we are in the war front against the devil and his host. The Bible clearly states this that our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the satanic powers (Ephesians 6:12), and that though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does (2 Corinthians 10:3-4). We can use the efficacy of prayer against these satanic powers. But, how can we use this power effectively?

Promises of God abound in the Bible that we should ask Him anything in prayer and He will do it for us. How can we rightly utilize these promises in prayer? We have to ask God to teach us how to pray.

There are various ways of prayer. Only God can teach us the proper method of praying if we are ready to learn. Indeed, we cannot pray acceptably at all unless God take us through the course of prayer. Somebody has suggested the acronym "ACTS" to describe the ways of prayer. The acronym stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication. While praying, what method should we use? We need to ask God to teach us.

Lord, teach us to pray!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:20 PM


Group History CHRISTIANS FOR NOBLE PURPOSE September 06, 2008 10:19 PM

Dear Beloved,

CHRISTIANS FOR NOBLE PURPOSE

"In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work" (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

In the above passage, the Christendom is likened to a large house, and the individual Christians to vessels or instruments in the house. Some of these vessels are for noble purpose (or unto honour) while some are for ignoble purpose (or unto dishonour). What will make Christians be for noble purpose?

Only those who cleanse themselves continually from the entanglement of the world, confess their sins, and are ready to forsake them will be instruments for noble purpose. How can one do this? The Psalmist answered, "…by living according to [God’s] word" (Psalm 119: 9, cf. verses 94-105). The confession referred to here is not mere confession, but "…godly sorrow [that] brings repentance that leads to salvation…" (2 Corinthians 7: 9-10).

Simply, to make holy is to set apart for a special purpose, to dedicate, to consecrate, or to sanctify such a thing. That is what a Christian that wants to be for noble purpose should be. He should be a set-apart, consecrated, dedicated and sanctified person. God does this setting apart only when we have cleansed ourselves. This is a complex study that demands a lot of time to explain and comprehend (Titus 2: 13-14; Hebrews 10: 10; 1 Peter 1:15-16; Ephesians 4:24).

The usefulness of a Christian that want to be for noble purpose will be only to God in the sense that everything he is doing will be for God and for His glory (Colossians 3: 23; 1 Corinthians 10: 31). He will not want to be useful because of any other purpose either personal or whatever. It is noteworthy to see the word that Paul used for God in this verse (i.e. 2 Timothy 2: 21) – Master. Until we see God as our Master in the real sense of it, we cannot be useful unto Him, and we cannot be for noble purpose for Him. Many people want to be useful for God, but at their own leisure.

The Christian should also be ready to work. Working cannot make one to be a Christian, but we are saved to work. Take note that it is not just work, but ANY GOOD work. These works are "… works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (Ephesians 4:12). The preparation will be "… in season and out of season" (2 Timothy 4:2).

Are you for noble purpose, or you are just there in the household of God? Follow these four essentials of becoming honourable vessel unto God, and you will be a Christian for noble purpose for Him.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB

This is to inform you that the guest book of the new website of this online ministry is now fully activated. Visit it (http://www.thewordthruthenet.org/guestbook/index.php) and register your presence. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 07, 2009 2:17 PM


Group History IT IS KEPT FOR YOU August 31, 2008 7:06 AM

Dearly Beloved,

IT IS KEPT FOR YOU

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you" (1 Peter 1:3-4, NIV).

There is a tradition that some Christian parents do when they give birth to a baby – buying a new Bible as the first gift for the baby. This gift may be presented publicly during the naming ceremony or during the dedication of the baby. I observed this tradition for my two children and kept the copies of the Bible on my bookshelves in my study. My intention was to present the copies of the Bible to the children when they are fully grown up. Recently, a mild drama took place in my study as I was looking for some books on my bookshelves. My eight-year-old son was with me looking at the books on the shelves. He called my attention to a particular book. When I looked at the book, it turned out to be the particular Bible I had bought for him eight years ago. I asked him if he likes it, he said yes. Then I asked him to open the title page and read the autograph there. He was surprised to discover that that Bible is a present to him right from the day of his naming ceremony. He just prostrated in appreciation of the hidden treasure.

Do you know that God has some hidden treasures for you also? Some of these hidden treasures will be revealed unto us on earth, some of them will be revealed in heaven. Peter talked about "an inheritance" that has been stored for the regenerated ones in heaven. This inheritance "can never perish, spoil or fade." It is apart from the living hope that we have through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. No matter what happens on earth, a true Christian has that hope of legacy stored for him/her in heaven. Nevertheless, it not only in heaven that he/she would enjoy such legacy. Even here on earth, he/she has many things that a non-Christian cannot boast of. He/she has the grace, mercy, peace and love of God in abundance. These qualities surpass all human understanding. In fact, the Christian is richly blessed in the Lord!

What is your heart desire? What are you aspiring to be? The Lord has in store for you both on earth and in heaven more than what you can imagine. It is kept for you for the appointed time. Surrender your total life to Him. Trust in Him. He will soon surprise you!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 10:03 PM



THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT August 24, 2008 9:35 PM

Dearly Beloved,

THE GOD OF ALL COMFORT

"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 have received from God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NIV).

In the introductory part of his second known epistle to the Corinthians, Apostle Paul gave some attributes of God that worth taking into consideration. Paul praised or blessed God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son, not born by human reasoning, but by divine arrangement that surpasses human comprehension. This God is the Father of compassion, the Source from where all mercies flow. His mercy endures forever, and He is ready to give out of this mercy to anyone that comes to Him. He is also the God of all comfort, the only one that can comfort people that are in misery. He made this promise to the people of Jerusalem: "I will show compassion to Jerusalem, to all who live in her ruins. Though her land is a desert, I will make it a garden, like the garden I planted in Eden. Joy and gladness will be there, and songs of praise and thanks to me" (Isaiah 51:3, TEV).

Paul recalled how this God comforted him and his companions in all their troubles. However, the comfort they received from God was for a purpose: so that they could comfort others that were in trouble. God lavishes His comfort on His people so that they also will be able to be channels of His comfort to other people.

Are you in distress of any kind? Look up to the God of all comfort. He will comfort you. He will show compassion on you, and you will sing songs of praise and thanks to Him. Moreover, who knows, He may be preparing you to be a channel of His comfort to other people. He is indeed the God of all comfort.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

 

Note:

This is to inform you about a new website for my online ministry: http://www.thewordthruthenet.org/. You can visit it to know more about the ministry and me. You can also visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spiritualdigest2003/message/308 to read brief descriptions about the pages of the website. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 10:01 PM



RENEW YOUR GIVING (Part 2) August 16, 2008 9:30 PM

Dearly Beloved,

This abridged study was started last week with the accusation against the people of Israel for not bringing their tithe and offering to the temple. This will conclude the study on the understanding and application of the entire scriptural principles of giving – not only giving of tithe – that have greater meaning in the lives of those who place their faith in Jesus Christ.

RENEW YOUR GIVING (Part 2)

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

Since the temple ministry was suffering because of the non-payment of tithes and offerings of the people to the priests, God had to place a curse on them. The nature of this curse can be determined from the blessing in Malachi 3:11 – famine due to pests eating their vegetation and vines without grapes (cf. Deuteronomy 28:38-40).

The people were enjoined to bring their whole tithe to the temple so that they would receive God’s blessings (Malachi 3:10). This promise was a reaffirmation of the obedience/blessing relationship stipulated in Deuteronomy 28:1-14. It reminded the Israelites of the covenant God had made with them. They would receive agricultural blessings and a good reputation among other nations.

The New Testament does not specifically teach about tithe, but it does teach about generous giving (Acts 4:32-35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-12; Galatians 6:6; Philippians 4:14-19). The manner of this giving must be in (a) firstly giving of ONESELF (2 Corinthians 8:5); (b) one that, as much as possible, no other person knows about (Matthew 6:1-4); (c) giving in love (1 Corinthians 13:3); (d) accordance with one’s ability (Acts 11:29); and (e) without grudge (2 Corinthians 9:5, 7).

The measure of the New Testament giving is UNLIMITED – the more you give, the more you receive from God (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:6). The tithe is a good place to begin in formulating a program for Christian stewardship. However, it should not stop there. God is ready to bless only those who are giving generously to the needy and the cause of the gospel. Many people have been robbing THEMSELVES of the blessings of God by not giving generously out of their possessions.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)

NB

If you want the full version of this study, or you have comments or/and reactions on the study, write a personal email to me at spiritualdigest@yahoo.com. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:58 PM



RENEW YOUR GIVING (Part 1) August 09, 2008 10:59 PM

Dearly Beloved,

RENEW YOUR GIVING (Part 1)

"‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,’ says the LORD Almighty" (Malachi 3:10-12, NIV).

This passage is the most popular in the book of Malachi because of its teaching on tithes. Many stewardship sermons have been preached on this passage. What made Malachi to challenge the people of Israel to return to God by being faithful in their tithes and offerings? This devotional messages is an abridged version of a study on the entire scriptural principles of giving with Malachi 3:7-12 as focal passage though the study will not be only on tithes and offerings but on giving generally, hence the topic.

The people of Israel were accused of disobeying God right from the days of their forefathers. As much as God tried to bring them to Himself, they strayed away from Him. God charged them to return unto Him so that He also would return unto them (see James 4:8-9). Ironically, the Israelites did not know how to return to God. How could they, when they did not care to serve Him the right way? Only those who try to seek God find Him.

If the people did not know the way they had derailed from God, Malachi was ready to bluntly tell them that they were robbing God. To rob man is a grave offence in Israel. What a surprise that they were not robbing men, but God! One would not be surprised that the people of Israel asked for the ways in which they were robbing God. However, did they not know?

In his bluntness, Malachi told them that they were robbing God in their tithes and offerings. He had earlier raised the issue of profane offering in chapter one. Offerings here referred to the portions of the general offerings designated for the priests. The tithe was literally a tenth of all produce and livestock that the people possessed (Leviticus 27:30, 32). It was to be given to the Levites, who in turn were to give a tithe of the tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:21-32). By implication, if the priests were not receiving offerings and tithes due to them, then they would have to turn to other means of supporting themselves, thereby neglecting the temple ministry.

The study will be concluded next week with the New Testament teaching on giving generally.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:56 PM




IF NOT FOR GOD... August 02, 2008 10:32 PM

Dearly Beloved,

IF NOT FOR GOD...

"Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23, NIV).

We are already in the eight month of the year. Have you ever looked back to see what God has done in your life this very year? I did, and I realized that if not for God, especially for His faithfulness over my life, probably I would have been no more by now.

I have a first cousin that grew together with me. Our intimacy then made people to refer to us as "husband and wife." However, marital and other commitments of life kept both of us away from each other for many years, though we do communicate regularly on phone. Her recent visit to my family was a reminiscence of our childhood years. We looked back to when we were growing up and now that both of us are happily married with children. We discussed our experiences in the past years. As a practicing nurse, she recounted many experiences of dying people who died in her presence. She noted that many of such people were younger to her in age. What normally comes to her mind whenever such people die is that what makes her better than these people that makes God to still preserve her life until the present. I also looked back and remembered many times I have travelled especially on the dangerous road from my school. Why has God preserved me from all sorts of dreaded accidents that have claimed the lives of many people? My cousin and I concluded that it is the grace of God that makes us to still be alive today. If not for God’s faithfulness and grace, we would have been consumed by the storm of life!

If you look back, you will see many things that God has done in your life. In that popular hymn, "Count Your Blessings," Johnson Oatman, Jr. wrote, "When you look at others with their lands and gold ... count your many blessings money cannot buy.... Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, See what God has done; Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your many blessings, see what God has done."

If not for God’s faithfulness and grace....

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:53 PM



WHO IS YOUR ASSOCIATE? July 13, 2008 8:43 AM

Dearly Beloved,

WHO IS YOUR ASSOCIATE?

"Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’" (1 Corinthians 15:33, NIV).

"Eliezer son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘Because you have made an alliance with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made.’ The ships were wrecked and were not able to set sail to trade" (2 Chronicles 20:37, NIV).

King Jehoshaphat of Judah was one of the good kings that did well in following the ways of the Lord. The writers of the Scriptures wrote good things about him and his reign. God in turn blessed him by being with him and making him prospered (see 2 Chronicles 17:1-5). He had successes in all his military endeavors (verse 10; 2 Chronicles 20). Because of the peace that God granted him, he built many forts and store cities in Judah, apart from the experienced fighting men that he had (see 2 Chronicles 17:12-19). However, he associated himself with wicked kings, Kings Ahab and Ahaziah of Israel (see 2 Chronicles 18:1; 20:35). This made him to have marriage alliance with them. He joined them in battle, and tried to make trade with them. Each of these alliances had adverse effects on Jehoshaphat. He was nearly killed in the battle (2 Chronicles 18); the partnership with Ahaziah failed woefully (2 Chronicles 20:37); and the marriage alliance renewed idolatry and wickedness in Judah. In fact, Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab who married the son of Jehoshaphat, later nearly wiped away all the royal lineage of Jehoshaphat. She committed great atrocities in the land before God intervened (see 2 Chronicles 22:10—23:15). What a great consequence of bad company!

Many people today have been causing bad effects on themselves because of the people with whom they associate themselves. Most of such people are good people, but their associates are not. Some of such people have even become corrupted because of their associates. Since they cannot beat them in most cases, they join them in their corrupt practices. Besides, how can God bless such partnerships? God categorically told Jehoshaphat He would destroy such partnership, and He did! (2 Chronicles 20:37). He had earlier warned him, but he did not yield to the warning (see 2 Chronicles 19:2).

Who are your associates? With whom do you work in partnership? Will your partnership with such people incur the blessings of God, or His wrath and destruction? Associate with godly people so that you will be more successful in all your undertakings.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:50 PM



DOING THE RIGHT THING RIGHTLY July 05, 2008 10:34 PM

Dearly Beloved,

DOING THE RIGHT THING RIGHTLY

"[David] said to [the priests], ‘You are the heads of the Levitical families; you and your fellow Levites are to consecrate yourselves and bring up the ark of the LORD, the God of Israel, to the place I have prepared for it. It was because you, the Levites, did not bring it up the first time that the LORD our God broke out in anger against us. We did not enquire of him about how to do it in the prescribed way.’" (1 Chronicles 15:12-13, NIV).

How often people do the right thing wrongly. Some do so out of ignorance. Some do so out of zeal. Others do so out of negligence. Each instance does not bring good and desired result in most cases. Rather, they all bring adverse effects on the doers and/or people around them. This was what happened during the reign of David as the king of Israel. He was zealous for the Lord in appreciation of what the Lord had done to him. So, he wanted to bring the ark of the Lord, the symbol of the presence of God, to his capital city. However, he did the right thing wrongly, and it cost the life of Uzzah, a layman that was recruited to guide the sacred object (see 1 Chronicles 13:7-10). David later retraced his step: he recruited the priests that had been set apart for that duty (see 1 Chronicles 15:11-15). The latter action was successful because David did the right thing rightly.

No matter how a cause may be good, it has to be done rightly. This is the fact that most people that especially want to serve or worship God do not know. They think that can just serve Him anyhow. Some of them are ignorant of the right way to serve Him. Some are too zealous to serve Him the right way, but they do not, even when they know the right way. Others are serving Him out of negligence because of their so-called familiarity with Him.

Have you realized that you can do the right thing wrongly? This may have an adverse effect on you and/or people around you. Therefore, what are you doing presently? Are you doing it rightly? Are you worshipping God rightly? Peter said, "...And there is salvation in and through no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by and in which we must be saved [except the name of Jesus Christ]" (Acts 4: 10-12, AMP). Any act of worship to God (no matter how good it is) that is not through Jesus Christ will lead to doom.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:39 PM


Group History 'TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS! June 28, 2008 8:45 PM

Dearly Beloved,

'TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS!

"My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer, by night, and am not silent. Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel. In you our fathers put their trust; they trusted and you delivered them. They cried to you and were saved; in you they trusted and were not disappointed" (Psalm 22:1-5, NIV).

The story of Louisa M. R. Stead (1850–1917) touched my heart the day I read it. She was relaxing with her husband and their four-year-old daughter on beach when they heard a desperate boy’s cry. The boy was drowning, and Louisa’s husband tried to rescue him. In the process, however, the boy pulled Mr. Stead under the water, and both drowned as Louisa and her daughter watched. Louisa Stead was left with no means of support except the Lord. She and her daughter experienced dire poverty. One morning, when she had neither funds nor food for the day, she opened the front door and found that someone had left food and money on her doorstep. That day she wrote the hymn, "TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS."

Many people, including me, have trusted Jesus Christ in the time of needs, and He has proved Himself by miraculously meeting the needs. He never disappoints those who genuinely trust in Him. In spite of his predicament, the psalmist in Psalm 22 recounted how God has saved those that trusted in Him. No wonder, Louisa Stead could write, "Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him; how I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er! Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! O for grace to trust Him more."

Total trust in Jesus Christ will lead to the Lord’s unfailing love (Psalm 32:10), perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3), blessings (Isaiah 57:13), happiness (Proverbs 16:20), joy in the Lord (Psalm 5:11; 33:21), fulfilment of godly desires (Psalm 37:5), deliverance from enemies (Psalm 37:40), safety in times of danger (Proverbs 30:25), stability (Psalm 125:1), prosperity (Proverbs 28:25), etc.

What is your own predicament? Does it seem that God has forsaken you? Have you put your total trust in Jesus Christ? He will meet you at the point of your need. Trust Him! You also will sing like Louisa Stead, "TIS SO SWEET TO TRUST IN JESUS."

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:35 PM



HOW RESPONSIBLE ARE YOU? June 14, 2008 9:57 PM

Dearly Beloved,

HOW RESPONSIBLE ARE YOU?

"If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever" (1 Timothy 5:8, NIV).

In many part of the world, this day June 15, 2008 is Fathers’ Day celebration for this year. While I congratulate all fathers throughout the world, I want to ask each one of us that is a father how responsible we are as fathers.

Modern civilization has made many fathers to shun their responsibilities as fathers. Some of such fathers want to have children, but they are not ready to play the fatherly roles in the lives of the children. Some of them do not have the time for their children. The children cannot feel the impacts of such fathers in their lives. Some of such fathers do not want children, but they do not care impregnating careless women. Infidelity to marriage vows in the lives many fathers has been another cause of this. Misplaced priorities may cause this also. Whatever the cause may be, are you as a father responsible?

The Bible is full of how a father can be responsible and take care of his children. He is to instruct them (Proverbs 1:8; 22:6). He is to command them (Proverbs 6:20). He is to guide, encourage, and warn them (Jeremiah 3:4; 1 Thessalonians 2:11). He is to restrain them in doing nefarious things (1 Samuel 3:13). He is to punish them (Deuteronomy 21:18; Proverbs 23:13-14; 29:17; Hebrews 12:9-11). He is to be considerate of their needs and requests (Matthew 7:10). He should not provoke them, but instead bring them up in God’s way (Ephesians 6:4). He is to provide for their needs (1 Timothy 5:8).

How responsible are you as a father? Do you care for your children? Are they feeling your fatherly impacts in their lives? An earthly father is the best representation of our heavenly Father. How are you representing God in the lives of your children? Happy Fathers’ Day!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)

Prayer Point:

While I dedicate this message to responsible fathers worldwide, pray that as God remembered Abraham, Manoah, and Zechariah in the Bible, He will remember the waiting fathers who long to express their fatherly responsibilities to their own children also.

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:31 PM



GIVE GOD THE GLORY! June 08, 2008 10:35 AM

Dearly Beloved,

GIVE GOD THE GLORY!

"On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. The people kept crying out, ‘The voice of a god and not of a man!’ And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died" (Acts 12:21-23, NASU).

King Herod Agrippa I who reigned between A.D. 37 and 44 died a mysterious death. The writer of the book of Acts of the Apostles recorded his history in the twelfth chapter of the book. "The people of Tyre and Sidon" were not in his good book (verse 20). Having secured the favour of one his trusted servants, they sought for his audience to make peace with him. During the peace meeting, he delivered an address that made the people to praise him and even ascribe unto him the position of a god. The Bible says an angel of the Lord struck him because he, King Herod, did not return the praise to God. He was eaten by worms and died (verses 21-23). An extra-biblical account explained it better that "...he was immediately seized with violent internal pains, and died five days after." His main offence was that he did not give God the glory. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was driven out of his exalted position and ate grass like cattle for seven years because he did not give God the glory for his achievements (see Daniel 4:29-37).

Only God knows the number of people that have been struck by Him because of the offence of not giving Him the glory for what He has done in their lives or what He has done in the lives of other people through them. Spiritual worms "are eating" such people presently, and they will soon meet their Waterloo if they do not repent. The Lord says, "I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols" (Isaiah 42:8, NIV). You have to know that "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble" (1 Peter 5:5, NIV).

In what ways have you been taking the glory of God in your life? Do you remember to return the glory unto Him when people give you such glory? Give God the glory! Let His blessings, not His curses, be yours. "To [God] be glory both now and for ever! Amen" (2 Peter 3:18, NIV).

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:22 PM



IT IS FOR YOUR GOOD! May 31, 2008 10:06 PM

Dearly Beloved,

IT IS FOR YOUR GOOD!

"For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome" (Jeremiah 29:11, AMP).

"It is good that one should hope in and wait quietly for the salvation (the safety and ease) of the Lord" (Lamentations 3:26, AMP).

Since about four weeks ago that my wife decided to nurture the chicks that suddenly became motherless through the mysterious death of their mother hen, I have continued to learn more lessons of life. One of such lessons is the way God handles our situation, especially when we do not like such way.

My wife does not allow the motherless chicks to move freely around outside our residence when she is not at home to monitor their movement. Therefore, she normally confines them to an enclosure. Whenever this happens, they normally make pathetic noises. The moment they are released, the joy of freedom is seen in them as they move freely around our courtyard to look for what they could eat on their own. One day, when my wife was not at home, out of pity for these chicks, one of our children released them from their enclosure. Alas, one of the chicks fall prey to a hawk. If the other chicks could reason, they would have blamed the person that carelessly released them, and appreciated my wife that always confines them to safety and allows them to move out freely under her watchful eyes. They would have known that their confinement is for their good.

God, at times, relates with us in a similar way! He "confines" us into His will and purpose so that no evil will befall us. He releases us to be free to do what we want when He knows that there is no danger ahead of us, or when He is ready to watch over us. In such cases of "confinements," we may be groaning and praying that He should release us, but He will not if it is not for our good. Any attempt for us to do things against His will and purpose may have adverse consequences.

Have you been praying that God should do something for you, and He has not done it? Probably He is keeping you in His will and purpose for your life, and waiting for the appropriate time to answer the prayer in His own way. Do not be dismayed. It is for your good!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:19 PM




YOU WILL SOON PRAISE GOD June 22, 2008 12:55 PM

Dearly Beloved,

YOU WILL SOON PRAISE GOD

"Praise our God, O peoples, let the sound of his praise be heard; he has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping. For you, O God, tested us; you refined us like silver. You brought us into prison and laid burdens on our backs. You let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and water, but you brought us to a place of abundance" (Psalm 66:8-12, NIV).

Psalm 66 is one of the thanksgiving psalms. It is a call to praise God for His awesomeness, power, glory, wonderful deeds, sovereignty, and guidance over His people. However, the psalmist gave another reason for praising Him: He brought out His people out of difficulty. In doing this, He tested them; He make them pass through fire of life (as a raw silver or gold would) so that they would be refined; He made them suffered many hardship; He even allowed people to maltreat them. Nevertheless, at the end, He brought them to a place of abundance. Indeed, He is to be praised!

God is dealing with His people the same way today. He tests them. He allows them to pass through many difficulties of life. At times, He allows people to maltreat them. However, in all these, He is with them. He promised, "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" (Isaiah 43:2, NIV. See also Psalm 23:4; 46:4-7; 91:15; Isaiah 41:10). He will soon make them overcome all these difficulties, and they will praise Him.

What are you passing through now? What is your own test of faith? Are you been maltreated presently? Are you in "the valley of the shadow of death" right now? Do not be dismayed! It is for a time. You are just passing through it. The Lord is with you. He will bring you out of it, and make you more refined and purer than gold. You will soon praise Him!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:12 PM



CHRIST THE KING ETERNAL May 24, 2008 6:50 PM

Dearly Beloved,

CHRIST THE KING ETERNAL

"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2, NIV).

"...our Lord Jesus Christ ... God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords..." (1 Timothy 6:14-15, NIV).

The word "Christ" is a transliteration from the Greek word "Christos" that simply means the anointed one. Its Aramaic form is "meshicha" from where the English word "Messiah" came. It designates Jesus as the fulfiller of the Messianic hopes of the Old Testament and of the Jewish people. A king is a person that rules a town, province, country, etc. He has the power to rule or govern, and has authority over the people in such town, province, country, etc. The word "eternal" denotes something/somebody that has no beginning and no end.

Jesus Christ was the King eternal in the past because of many reasons. The writers of the Old Testament prophesied about Him: (1) as the righteous King from David "who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land" (Jeremiah 23:5, NIV. See also 33:15; Isaiah 11:1-5); (2) as One whose "government and peace there will be no end [who] will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom" (Isaiah 9:7, NIV); (3) as a "ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" (Micah 5:2, NIV). There are many prophecies about His kingship in Psalms 2:6-11; 72; 110; Isaiah 2:1-4; 32:1; 33:17; Daniel 2:44. All these prophecies especially the one in Micah 5:2 prove that He had been in existence before His birth.

Jesus Christ was the King eternal in His life’s time. These are some of the evidences. One, the wise men from the East saw His star as that of a king (Matthew 2). Two, His miracles, especially the ones over nature, showed Him as the King over the universe. Three, in fulfillment of another Old Testament prophecy, He rode into Jerusalem during His Triumphal Entry (see Matthew 21:1-11; Zechariah 9:9). Four, the chief priests rightly accused Him of calling Himself a king during His trial before Pilate (Luke 23:2; John 19:12). Five, during that trial, He talk about His kingdom, and even affirmed the probing of Pilate that He was a king (John 18:36-37).

Presently, Jesus Christ is the King eternal who is seated "...in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything..." (Ephesians 1:20-22, NIV. See also Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3; 2:9).

In the future, Jesus Christ will continue to be the King eternal. He will judge the whole universe with righteousness (Revelation 19:11-16). All nations will worship Him (Revelation 15:3-4). He will reign forever and ever! (Revelation 11:15).

The implication of the eternal kingship of Jesus Christ is that every man must ascribe unto Him honor due unto Him by accepting Him as the Savior and Lord that will continue to rule over him/her from now until eternity. Only those who allow Him to reign over them will reign with Him in His eternal kingdom at the end of ages (Daniel 7:18, 27; Romans 8:18; 2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4). Have you accepted Him as the King over your life? You have no option. He will judge you one day! (see Acts 17:30-31; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Revelation 20:11-15). Jesus Christ is the King eternal!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:09 PM



A CARING MOTHER May 10, 2008 10:05 PM

Dearly Beloved,

A CARING MOTHER

"How hard it is to find a capable wife! She is worth far more than jewels! ... Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone" (Proverbs 31:10, 31, TEV).

The writer of Proverbs 31:10-31 described a noble and virtuous wife, and by inference a noble and virtuous mother, in a graphic way. She is someone who her husband can trust. She is a source of encouragement to him. She is diligent in her work. She is creative. She is generous. She is gentle and wise. Above all, she is caring. No wonder the writer of the passage ended his description with a call to give such woman respect.

My mother first demonstrated the attribute of a caring mother to me. Even after I become a married man, she is still demonstrating that attribute to me. However, my wife’s caring attribute as a mother surpasses that of my mother. I always admire and appreciate her (my wife’s) motherly care for my children and even me. Recently, she demonstrated that motherly caring attribute in an extraordinary way when one of our local hens died mysteriously leaving behind four young chicks. I was indifferent to the fate of the motherless chicks, but my wife thought of ways to nurture them. She did care for them and they are doing fine everyday. Such action to ordinary chicks may not be significant, but it shows how real mothers care for their children and others around them.

By nature, women are generally loving and caring. However, some of them are extraordinary with the qualities. Such women really care for their husband and children and any other person or thing around them. Nevertheless, there are women who do not care about their children not to talk of caring about their husbands. There are women who care less about their children and care more about themselves and things of this world. There are women who even do not care about anybody including themselves!

Are you a caring mother? Can your husband and children praise you for being so caring? Care more for your children and your husband. The Lord will reward you greatly for it in Jesus’ name. Amen. Happy Mothers’ Day!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Request:

While I dedicate this message to caring mothers worldwide, pray that as God remembered Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth in the Bible, He will remember the waiting mothers who long to express the caring and loving attributes to their own children also.

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:06 PM



WOULD YOU BE PART OF THE LIST? July 27, 2008 5:08 AM

Dearly Beloved,

WOULD YOU BE PART OF THE LIST?

"So we rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart" (Nehemiah 4:6, NIV).

Many books and articles have been written on the man Nehemiah who led his people to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem. It is a pity that little or nothing has been said about the people that worked with him to successfully complete the rebuilding of the wall in just fifty-two days in spite of the intense opposition they faced in course of the project. Nevertheless, the chronicler of the book of Nehemiah devoted a whole chapter for the list of people that predominantly worked with Nehemiah, and the specific things that they did (see Nehemiah 3). These people were mentioned by name one after the other.

Often, what most of us are doing is unnoticed, and we think that it is not significant. Some people have even withdrawn from making their little contribution to the advancement of the kingdom of God on earth and other good causes because they thought that they are not important and their contribution is not significant since it is not noticed and rewarded immediately. However, do you know that God is also taking note of what each of us is doing? Do you know that He is making a list of each of the people that contribute to the advancement of His kingdom? Paul said, "Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain" (1 Corinthians 15:58, NIV). Also he said in another place, "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up" (Galatians 6:9, NIV).

Would you be part of the list of people that contribute to the success of a good cause? Determine to make your little contribution even if it will be unnoticed. God knows how He rewards every good act in His own way and in own time.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 9:04 PM



"THROW IT DOWN!" May 03, 2008 9:54 PM

Dear Beloved,

"THROW IT DOWN!"

"Then the LORD said to him, 'What is that in your hand?' 'A staff,' he replied. The LORD said, 'Throw it on the ground.' Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it" (Exodus 4:2-3, NIV).

God gives us wisdom, knowledge, understanding, affluence, fame, beauty, and even things that we consider less significant for a definite purpose.

By circumstance, Moses became a shepherd in Midian. Then, his staff was an instrument in taking care of the animals. It became an extraordinary instrument, not of taking care of sxeep, but of leading God's people, the Israelites. How? He surrendered it to God.

The story of the feeding of five thousand people in John 6 showed how a little boy surrendered his lunch to be used by God. His little lunch became a source of nourishment to over five thousand people. Likewise, Simon Peter and his fellow-fishermen surrendered their large catch (Luke 5). Today, they are referent point for Christian missionaries. Abraham sacrificed his only son, Isaac to the Lord (Genesis 22). God returned the son and made him a father of many nations. Today, the Jews, the Muslims as well as the Christians honor him. The list is endless.

Think about Jesus Christ. He laid down His life for the salvation of humanity (see John 10:17-19; Titus 2:13-14). For this reason, He was made the Lord of all and been crowned with glory and honor "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth" (Philippians 2:6-10, NIV. See also Acts 2:32-35 and Hebrews 2:9).

What do you have that you are withholding from God? Is it money, time, experience, knowledge, wisdom, or even your life? One of the unchanging conditions for productive leadership is humble submission. God wants you to "throw it down!" Surrender it to Him and see what He will use out of it.

"For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:35-37, NIV).

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 8:59 PM



THE SOURCE OF TRUE HELP April 26, 2008 8:48 PM

Dearly Beloved,

THE SOURCE OF TRUE HELP

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).

The hundred-and-twenty-first psalm is one of the famous psalms. It is a psalm of assurance in the Lord, the God that keeps, protects, watches, and guards His own people. The psalmist was conscious of his need for help. He might have sought for help in many places, but he realized that the Lord was, and still is, the only source of true help who could help him. This God is not just an ordinary god; He is the Maker (Creator, Originator) of the heavens and the earth, the very tested present help in trouble (see Psalm 46:1).

The Lord is so powerful. He will not make you to slip. He is the One who watches you. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. The earthly guards, because of their human nature, may doze off or even sleep in the course of performing their duties. They may even decide not to guard us as we want. However, the Lord is always and actively on duty. In John 5:17, Jesus told the Jews about God, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (NIV).

The God does not only watch and guard, He also protects from danger. He is the shade for those that are His from any attack either during the day or in the night (see Psalms 91:1-2). Certainly, He will keep His own from any harm anywhere such people go. He will do this till the end of ages! No wonder, Paul could boldly say that no one would separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Are you in need of help? Look unto the Lord! He is the only source of true help. Do not depend on man. Man may promise to help, but only God is able to really help. Will you put your total trust in Him? He will help you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 8:55 PM



THE KINGDOM KEYS: RELEASING HEAVENLY TREASURES April 19, 2008 9:31 PM

Dearly Beloved, THE KINGDOM KEYS: RELEASING HEAVENLY TREASURES “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19, NKJV). My denomination, the Nigerian Baptist Convention, is holding its annual session this week. The theme of the session is “THE KINGDOM KEYS: RELEASING HEAVENLY TREASURES,” and the theme verse is Matthew 16:19. I am led to base my online weekly devotional message this week on this theme. What are these keys? Who will have these keys? What are the heavenly treasures? A key is an instrument for opening a door. One who is in possession of it has the power of access, and has a general care of a house. For this reason, in the Bible, a key is used as a symbol of power and authority (see Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 1:18; 3:7). The kingdom keys are worship of the Almighty God in truth and in Spirit (John 4:24); the Words of God that lighten one’s path (Psalm 19:8; 119:105; Proverbs 6:23); and prayer that some people have tagged the master key (Psalm 50:15; 55:16-17; 81:10; Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:12-13; 33:3; Matthew 7:7-11). A key useless in the hand of a dead person, therefore, anyone that would possess these keys must be born again by accepting Jesus Christ as his/her personal Saviour and Lord (John 1:12-13; 3:3-7; Ephesians 2:1-5). Another qualification of getting the keys is that such possessor must be ready to live a Christ-like life of self-denial and discipline (Luke 9:23-25; 1 Corinthians 9:27). He must be ready to pay the price of righteousness and holy life (Psalm 34:15-17; Proverbs 15:29). He must be somebody that is filled with the Holy Spirit all the time (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22-25). Such person must also be ready to stand out for God like Daniel and his colleagues (see Daniel chapters 1, 3 and 6). The heavenly treasures are revelation of the word & mind of God (1 Corinthians 2:16; Ephesians 3:3-4), salvation (Romans 10:13), healing (Luke 4:18), deliverance (Obadiah 17), financial breakthrough (Philippians 4:19) and diverse blessings (Ephesians 1:3; Isaiah 61:9; 1 Chronicles 4:10). These keys are not for self gratification, but to win souls (as Peter used them on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2), to disciple others to more Christ-like (Matthew 28:18-20), to be a blessing to other people (2 Corinthians 9:10-11), and above all to glorify God (1 Peter 4:11; 1 Corinthians 6:20; 10:31). There are some hindrances to the keys and the heavenly treasures. Parts of these hindrances are unconfessed sins (Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:13; Leviticus 26:40-42), and fellowship with the world (James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-16). King Solomon was a good example here (see 1 Kings 11). His case should be a warning to all of us! Do you want the keys to the heavenly treasures? Then draw closer to God in worshipping Him through prayer and reading of His words. Be ready to live a Christ-like life of self-denial that will make you stand out for Him. You will have these keys to the heavenly treasures, and God will be glorified in your life in Jesus’ name. Amen. In His service, Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor). NB I advise that you have a special time to study each of the Bible verses referred to above. God bless you!

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 8:52 PM



THE SOURCE OF TRUE HELP April 26, 2008 8:48 PM

Dearly Beloved,

THE SOURCE OF TRUE HELP

"I lift up my eyes to the hills--where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth" (Psalm 121:1-2, NIV).

The hundred-and-twenty-first psalm is one of the famous psalms. It is a psalm of assurance in the Lord, the God that keeps, protects, watches, and guards His own people. The psalmist was conscious of his need for help. He might have sought for help in many places, but he realized that the Lord was, and still is, the only source of true help who could help him. This God is not just an ordinary god; He is the Maker (Creator, Originator) of the heavens and the earth, the very tested present help in trouble (see Psalm 46:1).

The Lord is so powerful. He will not make you to slip. He is the One who watches you. He neither slumbers nor sleeps. The earthly guards, because of their human nature, may doze off or even sleep in the course of performing their duties. They may even decide not to guard us as we want. However, the Lord is always and actively on duty. In John 5:17, Jesus told the Jews about God, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working" (NIV).

The God does not only watch and guard, He also protects from danger. He is the shade for those that are His from any attack either during the day or in the night (see Psalms 91:1-2). Certainly, He will keep His own from any harm anywhere such people go. He will do this till the end of ages! No wonder, Paul could boldly say that no one would separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39; 2 Timothy 4:18).

Are you in need of help? Look unto the Lord! He is the only source of true help. Do not depend on man. Man may promise to help, but only God is able to really help. Will you put your total trust in Him? He will help you in Jesus’ name. Amen.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 04, 2009 8:49 PM


Group History DEUTERONOMY 28 April 07, 2008 4:25 AM

Dearly Beloved,

DEUTERONOMY 28

"If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands that I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God.... However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come upon you and overtake you..." (Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 15, NIV).

The first fourteen verses of Deuteronomy 28 are ones of the passages the Bible that many people like very much. They quote the verses most often and are ready to apply them to themselves. Some ministers of God also are fond of using the verses to pray for their congregations. However, few people would like to read the remaining part of the chapter. I was nearly guilty of this recently. I ought to read the chapter in my "Read the Bible through in a Year" schedule that day. I gladly read the first fourteen verses and even applied them to myself, but the moment I got to verse 15, I was reluctant to go ahead. I went back to verse 1 to see the conditions attached to the blessings in those "good" fourteen verses, then, I re-read verse 15 and discovered the conditions attached to the seeming "bad" fifty-four verses that follow: diligent obedience of God’s commandments is the condition for the blessings of the first fourteen verses (see verses 1, 2, 9 and 13), while disobedience of God’s commandments is the condition for the curses in the subsequent fifty-four verses (see verses 15 and 58).

Another thing I discovered from this chapter is that Moses took extra time to explain the curses as a warning to the people. He followed the example of God in Leviticus 26 where God gave similar warning with similar pattern. Moses had earlier summarized these warnings in Deuteronomy 11:26-28, "See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse — the blessing if you obey the commands of the LORD your God that I am giving you today; the curse if you disobey the commands of the LORD your God and turn from the way that I command you today by following other gods, which you have not known" (NIV).

A careful study of the history of the people of Israel when they eventually occupied the Promised Land reveals how all these blessings and curses came to pass in their lives. They had blessings and prosperity when they diligently obeyed the commandments of God, and curses and punishments when they disobeyed the commandments.

What do you want from God – His blessings or His curses? Claiming the blessings is not enough. You have to diligently obey His commandments as spelt out in the Scriptures to have His blessings. Obey Him and His blessings will be yours.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  July 05, 2008 3:18 PM

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anonymous  May 19, 2008 2:55 PM

THE HUNDREDTH PSALM 8:00 AM

Dear Beloved,

THE HUNDREDTH PSALM

"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations" (Psalm 100, NIV).

Psalm 100 is one of the most popular psalms. Many people have memorized it. In fact I have learnt it since my primary school days. Why is the five-verse psalm popular? The reason is that it is a thanksgiving psalm. Recently, the beauty of this praise poem stirs my heart.

Verses 1 to 2 invite us to reverence God with gladness. How often I forget to ponder on the reasons why we should do this.

Verses 3 and 5 give five reasons. First Reason: we serve THE God, the one and only God. All other gods are not gods. They are sheer idols. They cannot be compared with Him (cf. Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; 1 Kings 19:39; Psalms 86:8; 89:6; 95:3; 96:4-5; 97:9; Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 40:18; Jeremiah 10:10-16). Second Reason: the Lord created us. Before He created us, He created everything we need so that we will lack nothing (Genesis 1; Job 10:8-13; Psalms 139:13-24). Third Reason: we belong to Him, so He takes care of us; He sustains us; He protects us; He provides for us, etc (Psalms 74:1-2; 78:52; 95:7; Isaiah 40:9-11; Ezekiel 34:11, 30-31; John 10:14-16, 26-28). We belong to Someone who cares! (Psalm 34:15; Matthew 6:26; Luke 12:30; 1 Peter 5:7). Fourth Reason: the Lord is good and He does good things (see Psalms 86:5; 106:1; 107:1, 8, 15, 32; 119:68; Jeremiah 33:11). The Bible presents it this way: "how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him" (Acts 10:38, NIV). Is He still doing good till today? Yes, indeed! Think about your own life. Fifth Reason: the love, mercy, and faithfulness of God are permanent (Exodus 34:6-7; Deuteronomy 7:9; Psalms 36:5; 103:17; 119:90-91; Lamentations 3:22-23; Luke 1:50).

The above reasons made the psalmist to rejoice and advise us to always worship God with thanksgiving and praise in verse 4.

Nevertheless, why do we need to adore, glorify and bless Him when, at times, we do not receive answer to our prayers? The hundredth psalm counsels us to simply serve God for who He is, and what He is doing for us, not because of what we get from Him. He is more than what we need. Those who rejoice in their unpleasant situation are convinced of God’s love which never abandons anyone that hopes in Him. Feed your soul with the hundredth psalm and you will see that the Lord is indeed good!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB

Please find time to read and meditate on each of the Bible references above. I extensively referred to them for your further studies. God bless you as you do so!

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anonymous  April 18, 2008 5:04 PM

DO NOT TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED!

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5, NIV).

"...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

Sometimes ago in this Internet ministry I sent out a message about the miracle of eating, but one respondent did "not understand why you would wish to consider eating, a miracle." He went ahead to explain the anatomy of digestive system in man from the point of putting the food "into a container—the mouth" to when "Muscles are moving the bulk along to the rectum, where it will be eliminated." He continued, "This is a natural process that evolved over millions of years in many animal species—some with far more complicated and sophisticated digestive systems than the human animal." His conclusion is thus, "There has always been a tendency for people to credit the supernatural—a god, with anything they do not understand. That is the term—miracle." It is evident from his conclusion that he is an atheist. However, is it not a miracle that he could live to even give that explanation?!

Many things are happening to us that have become a routine to the extent that we do not see them as miracles. They have become "natural processes" that we always take for granted. The fact that we can explain them has made them to be ordinary to us. Eating is one of such things. Some have forgotten that the provision of the food is a miracle, and the fact that they can put it into their mouth is another miracle. My atheist friend and many other scientists are ready to explain and prove things scientifically, but can they make those things happen without the unseen Force – God? This is a question that needs an answer.

Will you also take the goodness of God over your life for granted? Do you know that the fact that you can read this message is a miracle? Do you know that you are a living miracle? Do you appreciate God for your life and what He enables you to do on earth, even including those ordinary things? It is only a fool that will think that he is living for living sake! As for me, "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live" (Psalm 146:2, NIV). What of you?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  March 28, 2008 2:09 AM

DO NOT TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED!

 February 10, 2008 5:17 AM

Dearly Beloved,

DO NOT TAKE THEM FOR GRANTED!

"Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God" (2 Corinthians 3:5, NIV).

"...for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose" (Philippians 2:13, NIV).

Sometimes ago in this Internet ministry I sent out a message about the miracle of eating, but one respondent did "not understand why you would wish to consider eating, a miracle." He went ahead to explain the anatomy of digestive system in man from the point of putting the food "into a container—the mouth" to when "Muscles are moving the bulk along to the rectum, where it will be eliminated." He continued, "This is a natural process that evolved over millions of years in many animal species—some with far more complicated and sophisticated digestive systems than the human animal." His conclusion is thus, "There has always been a tendency for people to credit the supernatural—a god, with anything they do not understand. That is the term—miracle." It is evident from his conclusion that he is an atheist. However, is it not a miracle that he could live to even give that explanation?!

Many things are happening to us that have become a routine to the extent that we do not see them as miracles. They have become "natural processes" that we always take for granted. The fact that we can explain them has made them to be ordinary to us. Eating is one of such things. Some have forgotten that the provision of the food is a miracle, and the fact that they can put it into their mouth is another miracle. My atheist friend and many other scientists are ready to explain and prove things scientifically, but can they make those things happen without the unseen Force – God? This is a question that needs an answer.

Will you also take the goodness of God over your life for granted? Do you know that the fact that you can read this message is a miracle? Do you know that you are a living miracle? Do you appreciate God for your life and what He enables you to do on earth, even including those ordinary things? It is only a fool that will think that he is living for living sake! As for me, "I will praise the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live" (Psalm 146:2, NIV). What of you?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:36 PM

WHAT DO YOU SEE? (Anniversary Message)

 February 16, 2008 10:33 PM

Dear Beloved,

My Internet ministry tagged "Spiritual Digest" is exactly five years old on Monday February 18, 2008. This is the ministry where God is using me as a channel of His blessings to thousands of people through the Internet. The ministry started on February 18, 2003 when I sent the first message by email to 47 people. Within these five years, I have consistently sent the weekly messages to tens of thousands of people both in English and Esperanto languages. You also joined people that receive from me weekly sometime ago. Glory be to God for His efficacious grace on me! To celebrate this fifth anniversary of the Internet ministry, let me resend my first message which has remained one of the best messages in the ministry to you:

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

"We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Number 13:33, NIV).

"The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good…. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will swallow them up. Their protection is gone, but the LORD is with us. Do not be afraid of them" (Numbers 14:7, 9, NIV).

These were the views of two groups that went to explore the land of Canaan. Undoubtedly, the two groups were saying the absolute things about what they saw in the land. The former is the carnal sight that did not see beyond the ordinary, while the latter is the spiritual sight that saw the extraordinary.

What do see in your situation? Is it the ordinary or the extraordinary? If you see only your situation, you are seeing only the ordinary, but if you believe, you will see beyond the situation. Jesus told Martha, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" (John 11:40, NIV). And Paul testified, "We know these things are true by believing, not by seeing [the ordinary]" (2 Corinthians 5:7, TLB).

See beyond the ordinary by believing in the Lord that He will help you, and He will be glorified in your life.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB

I used to shy away from requesting for financial assistance from people because I do not want them to see me as doing the ministry because of financial or material gain. Some people have indeed wrongly accused me so! It is a fact that I need financial assistance as I am doing the ministry, but my prayer is that God will touch people’s hearts to meet me at the point of my financial and material needs. If the Lord touches you to be a periodic sponsor of this ministry, you may contact me directly at <spiritualdigest@yahoo.com>.

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anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:32 PM

THE LORD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME February 24, 2008 5:43 AM

Dearly Beloved,
THE LORD WILL TAKE CARE OF ME
“My father and mother may abandon me, but the LORD will take care of me” (Psalm 27:10, TEV).
David had many adversities during his youth age. He had these adversities because of the enmity between him and King Saul. His parents could not help or protect him. In fact, it came to a time that he had to take care of them and protect them from the impending harm of Saul (1 Samuel 22:3). At this period, it seemed to David that his parents had abandoned him, especially from taking the responsibility of taking care of him as their son. Saul who was his father-in-law was looking for a way to kill him. However, he knew that the Lord was caring for him.
At times, people that ought to care for us may not be able to do so. People that suppose to help us may even need our help. We may not understand that they cannot render the expected help at the point in time. People that are close to us may even be our avowed enemies. Nevertheless, God is there for us. When it seems that people have abandoned us, God WILL take care of us.
Using the figurative expression of a shepherd, Isaiah said of God: “He will feed His flock like a shepherd: He will gather the lambs in His arm, He will carry them in His bosom and will gently lead those that have their young” (Isaiah 40:11, AMP. See also 49:9-10; Ezekiel 34:12-14, 31; Micah 5:4; John 10:11-16; Revelation 7:17).
What are you passing through now? Does it seem as if even your parents and other close relatives have forsaken you? Are your friends seemingly proving difficult to relate with? God will take care of you. God will rise to your situation. Do not lose hope. God will glorify Himself in your life in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
NB
Let me use this opportunity to express my appreciation to everyone that sent congratulatory and encouraging messages and prayer wishes to me by email or SMS on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of my Internet ministry last week. The Lord will continue to bless you. Amen  [ send green star]  [ accepted  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:29 PM

HOW WOULD YOU APPRECIATE GOD? March 03, 2008 9:49 AM

Dearly Beloved,

HOW WOULD YOU APPRECIATE GOD?"Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to count them, each one must pay the LORD a ransom for his life at the time he is counted. Then no plague will come on them when you number them’" (Exodus 30:11-12, NIV).As the people of Israel were coming out of slavery in the land of Egypt, God gave them many laws that would guide them as a peculiar nation to Him. Among these laws was the atonement money to be paid to the sanctuary when men from twenty years and above were being counted as part of the military force. In contrast to other offerings, the rich were not to give more, nor the poor less (verse 15). This was to point out that the souls of the rich and poor are alike precious, and that God is no respecter of persons. This particular offering was to be paid as a ransom of the soul, so that "plague will come on them". Thus they acknowledged that they received their lives from God, that they had surrendered their lives to Him, and that they depended upon His power and patience for the continuance of them; and hence, they did homage to the God of their lives.Most of these laws including this one are not applicable to us today because we are not under the law but under the grace of God. However, there is a lesson for us today from such law: we owe God our lives, and we have to be appreciating Him for the gift of life He has given us. Giving of money to the cause of the gospel is just one of the numerous ways to appreciate God for our lives. The most important appreciation we can give God is our life. This was what the Macedonian churches did. "They gave themselves first to the Lord..." (2 Corinthians 8:1, 5, NIV). Then, they did other kinds of giving to appreciate God.How would you appreciate God for your life? What would you use to appreciate God for everything He is doing in your life? While many ministers of God would emphasize giving of money, have you considered firstly giving of your whole life back unto Him as your appreciation for that life? He deserves nothing less than that from you. Only an ingrate and a fool will disregard God and do not appreciate Him for his life.In His service,Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:25 PM

DO NOT DOUBT GOD! March 09, 2008 6:53 AM
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).In His service,What is your present situation? Are you too overwhelmed with the situation that you have lost all hope? Do you belief that God is greater than that situation and that He can rescue you from it? Do not doubt God! If you believe, you would see the glory of God (cf. John 11:40).I wonder why Moses could doubt the words of God after God had demonstrated Himself to him and the people of Israel on many occasions. But that is how we also doubt God many times. We are too overwhelmed by our situation that we do not remember that the power of God is higher and greater than our situation. We are too problem-conscious and relegate God to the background. Even when He is reassuring us of His presence and power to deliver us from our precarious situation, we tend to doubt Him.Moses was in a critical situation as he was leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land. In spite of the miraculous manna, the people were craving for other foods that they used to eat when they were in bondage in Egypt. Moses was overwhelmed with this request that he even asked God to put him to death! (see Numbers 11:15). Nevertheless, the Lord was ready to do two things for Moses: one, to consecrate other people that would bear the burden of the people of Israel with him; and two, to provide meat that the whole people would eat for a whole month. Moses did not have any problem with the first solution, but he could not believe the second one. He expressed his disbelief instantly. However, God asked Moses one of the reassuring questions about His power: "Is the LORD's arm too short?" (verse 23, NIV. See similar questions in Genesis 18:14; Isaiah 50:2; 59:1; Micah 2:7; Zechariah 8:6). God eventually did what He promised despite the doubt of Moses (see Numbers 11:31, 32)."But Moses said, ‘Here I am among six hundred thousand men on foot, and you say, "I will give them meat to eat for a whole month!" Would they have enough if flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? Would they have enough if all the fish in the sea were caught for them?’ The LORD answered Moses, ‘Is the LORD's arm too short? You will now see whether or not what I say will come true for you’" (Numbers 11:21-23, NIV).DO NOT DOUBT GOD!  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:21 PM

HE LORD WILL GLORIFY HIMSELF, BUT... March 16, 2008 9:24 AM

Dearly Beloved,

THE LORD WILL GLORIFY HIMSELF, BUT..."He and Aaron gathered the assembly together in front of the rock and Moses said to them, ‘Listen, you rebels, must we bring you water out of this rock?’ Then Moses raised his arm and struck the rock twice with his staff. Water gushed out, and the community and their livestock drank. But..." (Numbers 20:10-12, NIV).Undoubtedly, there are genuine ministers of God today, and there are people who claim to be ministers of God. All these people are doing the work of God. Some of them are doing it according to the directives and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Some of them are doing it for selfish purposes. (Compare the words of Paul in Philippians 1:15-18.) In either case, what is certain is that God does glorify Himself. He uses all of these people to His own glory. However, He will judge each of these people according to what they have done for Him (see Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; Romans 14:12; 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10).As a minister of God, I feared God the more recently when I read the incident of "the waters of Meribah" found in Numbers 20. The discontented people of Israel complained again about their situation in the wilderness journey to the Promised Land because they wanted water. Moses and Aaron went to the Lord and the Lord gave them instruction on how they would provide water for the people of Israel. They were simply to speak to a rock, but out of pride, Moses and Aaron abused the people of Israel, ascribed the honor of providing water to themselves and struck the rock twice. In spite of these, God miraculously provided the water for the whole people of Israel and their livestock. But, the Lord immediately gave a verdict for Moses and Aaron: they would not reach the Promised Land. Their labor for almost forty years would be in vain (Numbers 20:12). What a great judgment!This is a great warning to us the ministers of God and even others that God is using in one way or the other. We must beware of how we do the work of God. Whether we do it according to the will of God or not, God will still glorify Himself in the work, but the aftermath of our activities for God may be disastrous if we try to take the glory, misuse our position, or do things contrary to the will of God. Apostle Peter gave similar warning: "To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow-elder, a witness of Christ's sufferings and one who also will share in the glory to be revealed: Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers — not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away" (1 Peter 5:1-4, NIV).In His service,Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  March 27, 2008 9:17 PM

JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE! Sunday, 8:37 AM

Dearly Beloved,

JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE!"I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18, NIV).I once saw a sticker on a vehicle that reads thus: "If your God is crucified, try Allah." I laughed to yourself and pitied the originator of such idea. Apparently it refers to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, but the originator of the idea and those that are promoting it do not know that the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was not the end of His story. In fact it was the beginning of His triumph over death and Satan. Paul put it this way: "None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory" (1 Corinthians 2:8, NIV). It is a historical fact that Jesus Christ was crucified outside the city of Jerusalem. He died on the cross according the Scriptures. He was buried in a tomb. But praise the Lord, He was raised on the third day! He appeared to many of His disciples and others for forty days before He ascended to heaven (see Matthew 28; Mark 16; Luke 24; John 20, 21 and Acts 1). He told John: "I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades" (Revelation 1:18, NIV). He is now at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1).Jesus Christ is alive! He was the only religious leader that died and was raised again. This is a great assurance that Christians are not serving a dead God. It is a great hope that when Christians die, they also will be raised with Him at the end of the age. Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die" (John 11:25-26, NIV). Do you have these assurance and hope? If you are not sure of your eternal life, try the eternal living Jesus.In His service,Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB

There is a message written by me that proves the logic of the doctrine of resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is titled "IF JESUS CHRIST HAS NOT BEEN RAISED...." You may request for it by writing me at <spiritualdigest@yahoo.com>. Happy Easter!  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
anonymous  January 28, 2008 4:53 AM

DO YOU REMEMBER HIM? January 13, 2008 11:17 AM

Dearly Beloved,

DO YOU REMEMBER HIM?

"‘But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.’ ... The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him" (Genesis 40:14, 23, NIV).

The elder brothers of Joseph hated him because of his bright future. They sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37). Even there, he was wrongly accused and thrown into prison (Genesis 39). Nevertheless, the Lord was with him and made him to find favor in the sight of the prison warder that he was made the chief prisoner in charge of other prisoners (Genesis 39:21, 22). In the course of his duty one day, he noticed that two of the prisoners were not happy. On enquiry, he discovered that each of them had had a terrified dream the previous night. He interpreted the dream of each of them and told the one with favorable interpretation not to forget him when he is freed, and that he should find ways to get him (Joseph) out of the prison. However, when that prisoner (who was the then cupbearer of Pharaoh) was freed and restored to his former esteemed position, he did not remember Joseph. It took God’s intervention after two years before he could remember Joseph.

Have you been expecting that someone will remember you and help you in one way or the other for so long a time? People may not remember you, but God does! Hear this: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me" (Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV). In His own appointed time, God will remember you and elevate you to His desired position for your life.

Furthermore, who has helped you or in need of your help that you need to remember? Do you remember the person? For how long will you wait to remember the person and help him? God depends on you for the help of that person. You need to remember him and act now!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Points:

1. Lord, intervene in my affair and make the person that ought to help me remember me and help me now.

2. Remind me Lord about who I am suppose to help and enable me to help that person now.

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anonymous  January 28, 2008 4:50 AM

WHY ARE YOU THERE? Saturday, 9:11 PM

Dearly Beloved,

WHY ARE YOU THERE?

"The assembly was in confusion: Some were shouting one thing, some another. Most of the people did not even know why they were there" (Acts 19:32, NIV).

The gospel ministry of Paul was flourishing in the then Asia Minor. The Bible says, "God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul" (Acts 19:11, NKJV). This led to the conversion of many people to the new Way. The new trend was a threat to the once blooming business of some silversmiths especially Demetrius who made silver shrines for Artemis, the goddess of the Ephesians. He called his colleagues in the business and intimated them about the danger the new Way might cause them and their business, as well as their esteemed goddess. When the other silversmiths heard this, they began to protest in defense of the goddess. This private protest led to an uproar in the city of Ephesus. Two of the companions of Paul were arrested and brought to the theater where they intended to punish them. The whole crowd that gathered at the theater was confused; some were shouting one thing while some others were shouting another thing because most of them did not actually know why they were there. They just joined the multitude. No wonder, they were all dismissed without accomplishing anything (see Acts 19:8-41).

Many people today are like that crowd of Ephesus. They are in a cause without knowing the real purpose of the cause. They see other people in it, and they joined them doing it. Many are in a profession because their friends are doing it. Many are in a political party without thinking whether their ideologies are in line with the ideologies of the party. Many even hold certain religious beliefs without personal convictions about such beliefs. Inasmuch as the beliefs are popular in their locality, they can die for the beliefs. This ought not to be so!

Have you ever asked yourself why you are where you are? Do you have a personal purpose for doing what you see other people doing? Have you ever thought of what would happen to you personally if you are to defend yourself for the action you join others to do? Why are you doing what you are doing presently? Why are you in that particular place now? The Bible says, "For we will all stand before God's judgment seat. It is written: 'As surely as I live,' says the Lord, 'Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.' So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God" (Romans 14:10-12, NIV). If this is so, you as a person need to know distinctively why you are doing what you are doing. Why are you there?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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IMAGE OF GOD January 21, 2008 2:00 PM

GOD IS REPRODUCING HIMSELF BY BUILDING A FAMILY THAT WILL BECOME THE KINGDOM OF GOD.  THAT IS WHY OUR BROTHER BAYO IS DOING THE WORK HE HAS BEEN CALLED TO DO.  IT HAS BEEN GOD'S PLAN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. BEFORE GOD CREATED ANYTHING,HE KNEW HOW HE WOULD FULFILL HIS PLAN. BAYO AND ALL OF US ARE HERE TO HELP GOD CREATE THE WORLD HE WANTS ALL OF TO LIVE IN AND REJOICE IN WITH HIM IN THE NEW JERUSALEM. GOD BLESS BAYO AND ALL FOR HIS HARD WORK.

 [ send green star]
 
anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:11 AM

PASTORAL BLESSINGS FOR YOU IN THE YEAR 2008 December 31, 2007 5:35 PM

Dearly Beloved,

PASTORAL BLESSINGS FOR YOU IN THE YEAR 2008

Glory be to God for the opportunity of seeing another year – year 2008.

As usual, Opeyemi my wife, and Boluwatife and IfeOluwa our children are joining me to pronounce these pastoral blessings as found in Numbers 6:24-26 (AMP) on you this new year:

- The Lord will bless you;

- He will watch, guard, and keep you;

- He will make His face to shine upon;

- He will enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you;

- He will lift up His approving countenance upon you; and

- He will give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually) in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Happy and prosperous New Year!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor),

Baptist Building, Oke Bola,

PMB 5113, Ibadan 200001, Nigeria.

+234 805 515 9591

http://www.afolabayo.org/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/spiritualdigest2003/

NB

Send your reply directly to or copy me at spiritualdigest@yahoo.com or spiritualdigest@gmail.com. God bless you!!!

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:08 AM

ABOUT TO GO…GOING…GONE! December 30, 2007 4:36 AM

Dearly Beloved,

ABOUT TO GO…GOING…GONE!

"Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:12-14, NASU).

If you are reading this message the very day I sent it, year 2007 is about to go an end. If you are reading it the second day, the old year would be going to an end. However, if you read the message after the second day, it means the year has gone to an end! Whenever you may be reading it, the year has gone with its entire best, better, good, bad, worse, and worst. There is nothing we can do about it. If the year brought good things for us, let us thank God. If it is otherwise, let us still thank Him. The fact that we could see the end of the year is a great success on our part. We started the year with many people that are not alive today. We are not better than most of them. We are alive today by the grace of God. We should not continue to live in what happened to us in the old year.

Paul the apostle gave a good advice about this: forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead. No matter your achievement in the year 2007, forget it and strive toward greater achievements in the year 2008. Do not let the successes of the year 2007 be an obstacle to your greater successes in the year 2008. Let the new year be a year that you will do greater exploits for God. Let it be a year that you will move to higher ground.

No matter your failure in the year 2007, forget it also and hope that the year 2008 will bring better things. With the help of God, you will make it in the new year. The old year has gone. The new year is here with its new challenges. The new year has many opportunities that are beckoning for utilization. Be prepared to excel in the new year. Be prepared to put the devil and his cohorts to shame. No matter the case may be, you will praise God in the new year. The Lord will glorify Himself in your life in the new year in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Happy New Year (2008) in advance!


In His service,


Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:06 AM

"IS IT TOO LATE?" December 16, 2007 8:58 AM

Dear Beloved,

"IS IT TOO LATE?"

"The children born during your bereavement will yet say in your hearing, 'This place is too small for us; give us more space to live in.' Then you will say in your heart, 'Who bore me these? I was bereaved and barren; I was exiled and rejected. Who brought these up? I was left all alone, but these--where have they come from?'" (Isaiah 49:20-21, NIV).

I was with my father in his farmhouse some years ago when he was telling me his life story. It was the early part of his marriage with my mother. They had lost their first three sons in succession. All his contemporaries were successfully having children. It seemed that there was no hope of having another child. As he was in that same farmhouse one afternoon pondering about his dilemma, he heard a voice saying: "IS IT TOO LATE?" He did not know the source of the voice, but he believed that it came from God, and that it was actually not too late for him and his young wife to have children that would live.

That was about forty years ago. The Lord has now blessed my parents with five sons, three daughters and eight other grandchildren – all alive to God’s glory! It was indeed not too late for my father to be a biological father and even now a grandfather. The bereaved family of two is now about twenty. My parents still wonder till today that they could have such number of living children.

I remembered this situation as I was reading the above Bible passage recently. Hannah was in a similar situation. The Bible introduced her as a sad childless woman (1 Samuel 1:2-7). However, God changed her story. She later had three sons and two daughters after giving birth to that great man of God, Samuel (1 Samuel 2:21).

What is your situation? Do you also have a similar situation? It may not be childlessness. It may be any other seemingly hopeless situation. Let me reaffirm it that IT IS NOT TOO LATE! The Lord is not done with you yet. He will arise in His appointed time and manifest His power in your life. Remember the words of the Psalmist, "When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion, we were like men who dreamed. Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, ‘The LORD has done great things for them.’ The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy" (Psalm 126:1-3, NIV. Read also Jeremiah 31:16-17).

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:04 AM

A PERTINENT QUESTION December 09, 2007 8:53 AM

Dear Beloved,

A PERTINENT QUESTION

LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? (Psalm 15:1, NIV).

In this part of the world going to church is now familiar. Churches are springing up because more people patronize them. However, are all people going to church really go there to worship God? Are they qualified to be in God’s presence? Is their worship acceptable to God? The psalmist did not only ask the same questions in Psalm 15 but gave eight qualifications to measure true worshippers.

The first qualification is blamelessness (v.2a). In his/her living in this world, he/she should be without guilt. It is not that he/she would be sinless, but he/she will be above suspicion. Righteous living is the second qualification (v.2b). He/she would be righteous in whatever he/she does. The third qualification is truthfulness (v.2c). He/she would not be known for falsehood or half-truth, but be trusted for anything he/she says. The fourth qualification is goodness (v.3b). The person would be good to everyone around him/her. He/she would not do wrong things to other people. The fifth qualification is honoring those that fear God (v.4b). Such person would hold believers in high esteem, especially the faithful servants of God. Integrity is the sixth qualification (v.4b). He/she would keep his/her words even when it is difficult to do. His/her yes would be yes and no no. The seventh qualification is kindness (v.5a). He/she would be ready to help others willingly without thinking of any gain from such help. He/she would be compassionate and selfless. The eighth qualification is incorruptibility (v.5b). He/she would be so honest that he/she would not accept bribe or be involved in any corrupt practice.

Slander is a vice that such person that would be in God’s presence should avoid (v.3). The person would not insult his/her fellow human being. Another word used for this vice in the same verse is "to slur" which can also mean to disgrace, to smear, to slight, etc.

The psalmist concluded that any one who has all these qualifications will be established forever (v.5b).

Jesus Christ sums it up this way, "God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth" (John 4:24, NIV). As you are reading this write-up, are you qualified to be in God’s presence? Are you qualified to be in God’s presence?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:02 AM

CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CHRIST December 23, 2007 7:19 AM

Dear Beloved,

CHRISTMAS WITHOUT CHRIST

"She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21, NIV).

I was coming home from my working place that day when I saw a place full of celebration. A brewery company is organizing a Christmas show. Beer and all sorts of alcoholic drinks were free for every one that attended the show. The place was full of young men and women and even some elderly ones that came to enjoy the show. There was no place for Christ – the reason for Christmas – in the show for it was organized to promote the products of the brewery company.

As I was passing by the place, I was thinking within me of all the funs that normally accompany the Christmas season. Why are we doing all these funs? Are they purposely for Jesus Christ? Have we not turned the season to a season to gratify our selfish desires? It is good that a period of the year is set aside to celebrate His birth. Do we really focus on Jesus Christ who is the reason for Christmas?

Do not celebrate this Christmas without Jesus Christ. He has come to save us. Paul said, "[Jesus Christ] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good" (Titus 2:14, NIV). Have you been saved by Him? As you celebrate this Christmas, think of how you will lead others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ so that they also will not be celebrating Christmas without Christ.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 4:00 AM

BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR September 02, 2007 8:37 AM

Dear Beloved,

For the next few weeks, let me go my archive and give some of my prevoius messages. Have this for this week:

BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR

"Then the LORD said, 'I will surely return to you about this time next year, and Sarah your wife will have a son'" (Genesis 18:10, NIV).

Wonders never end. Sarah and Abraham seemed to say when God told them that they would have their own child "about this time next year" (Genesis 17:15-16, 19-21; 18:10,13-14). How would a man of hundred years impregnate a woman of ninety years? Naturally, it is impossible! Sarah laughed it off, while Abraham gave God another option to fulfill His promises for his (i.e. Abraham's) life (see Genesis 17:18; 18:12). However, God insisted that His promise of making Abraham the father of many nations would be fulfilled through the son that Sarah would bear to him, "For nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37, NIV. See also Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Mark 10:27; Luke 18:27).

God did fulfill His promise! In Genesis 21:1-2, the Bible says, "Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him" (NIV). I want to emphasize two things in this passage:
a. God was gracious to Sarah: it was by the grace (the unmerited favor) of God that made God to remember her and fulfill the promise;
b. At the very time: God fulfilled His promise for Abraham and Sarah at the very appointed time, not earlier, not later, but at the very time.

What are you also trusting God to do for you? Have you lost hope on it? Are you thinking of another means that God would do it for you? By this time next year, God would have done that thing for you in His own way, and at His very appointed time. God will be gracious to you and remember you for good. It may not even be up to a year. It may be less than a year, a month, a week, or even a day. Remember, the Lord spoke through prophet Elisha, "Hear the word of the LORD. This is what the LORD says: About this time tomorrow, a seah of flour will sell for a shekel and two seahs of barley for a shekel at the gate of Samaria" (2 Kings 7:1, NIV). The prophecy did happen less than a day. The officer who did not believe only saw it but never enjoyed it.

By this time next year, you also will have one or more things to testify about God's goodness in your life. Do you believe it?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 3:58 AM

IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES Sunday, 7:00 AM

Dearly Beloved,

IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows" (Psalm 23:5, NIV).

Would you want your perceived enemies to be alive or dead? Would you want them to live well so that they can see the wonders that God will do in your life, or want God to get rid of them before He blesses you? The human nature makes one not only to rejoice at the misfortunes of one’s enemies, but to also wish them misfortunes and even invoke curses against them. Many people allow this human nature to control them in doing such things against their perceived enemies.

However, a regenerated man will have a positive attitude toward his perceived enemies. Apart from this, it is evident that is it is the pleasure of God to spare the lives of our perceived enemies so that they will witness the goodness of God in our lives, and even come to praise God with us and seek peace with us if possible.

This is what happened in the life of Isaac in Genesis 26. Isaac was in the land of Gerar, but the people there did not like him. They did all they could to frustrate him out of the land. However, the more they frustrated him the more God blessed him and made him to expand to the extent that his enemies came begging for reconciliation and treaty and apparently to share out of the blessings of God for Isaac. What a great triumph! Would Isaac have such if his enemies had died?

This reminds me of the words of David in Psalm 23: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows" (verse 5, NIV). In the presence of your enemies, the Lord will bless you abundantly. Your blessings will be so much that you will be a blessing even to your enemies. Your enemies will live long to witness your breakthrough, and they will long to make peace with you and possibly share out of your blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.

However, a note of warning: let your ways be pleasing to the Lord! The Bible says, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7, NIV). Isaac ways were pleasing to God because he obeyed God (see Genesis 26:2-6). It is well with your soul!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 3:45 AM

THE MIRACLE OF EATING November 18, 2007 8:23 AM

Dear Beloved,

THE MIRACLE OF EATING

"…always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Ephesians 5:20, NIV).

"…give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18, NIV).

The Yoruba people have a form of greetings for every occasion. One of such forms of greetings especially to someone that is eating is translated literally, "The food will pass through the right passage." Such form of greetings may not be meaningful to a novice in physiology or somebody who does not care about how the food we eat, and even water we drink, get to their destination in the stomach before the digestive process commence.

Such ignorance and/or carelessness do not make people appreciate God for the miracle of eating and even drinking water. To them, eating and drinking water are ones of such ordinary and normal routines of life. However, they are indeed miracles. Interestingly, some Yoruba people jokingly tell someone that is eating that he is performing a miracle. (The word "miracle" in Yoruba etymologically means "the opening of the mouth.")

Eating food and dinking water may be ones of those things that are ordinary and normal to us, but they are indeed ones of the miracles of God. It is when they mistakenly pass through the wrong passage or when we are unable to eat because of an ailment that we appreciate them as miracles.

For this reason, we should always be grateful to God not only for providing our foods, but also for enabling us "to perform the miracle" without any accident during the act. We should also learn to thank Him for other seemly ordinary and normal routines of life. For "The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases, his mercies never come to an end" (Lamentations 3:22, RSV).

Lord, thank you for the miracle of eating!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 3:39 AM

EVERYTHING? September 16, 2007 8:52 AM

Dear Beloved,

EVERYTHING?

"So they pulled their boats up on shore, left EVERYTHING and followed him" (Luke 5:11, NIV).

"But all those things that I might count as profit I now reckon as loss for Christ's sake.
Not only those things; I reckon EVERYTHING as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have thrown EVERYTHING away; I consider it all as mere garbage, so that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:7-8, GNB).

In spite of all their struggles, Simon Peter and his colleagues could not catch a single fish. But the words of Jesus Christ saved the day, "they caught such a large number of …" (Luke 5:6, NIV). This event changed their life goals. They left everything to become disciples of Jesus Christ! Also, Abraham left what he had to do the will of God (Genesis 22). In his old age, he was ready to give up his only son to God. In fact, the Bible says he did sacrifice the son (Hebrews 11:17). Undoubtedly, Isaac, the son, was everything to him and his wife. Paul was an accomplished scholar, yet he considered it invaluable so that he might experience Christ! All of them prized their faith above the temporal benefits.

Can one say that all of them were sensible? How could they abandon what they had toiled for - achievements, status, prestige and the like? Would they gain anything from such actions? In fact, once, Peter asked the same question: "What is our benefit?" (see Mark 10:28). Jesus Christ's answer was captivating: "I tell you the truth… no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will
fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields-and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30, NIV).

Faith is not a gamble. It is giving of what you cannot keep into the hands of Him who keeps and multiplies all things for your own benefits, no matter how painful and unreasonable.

What is your "everything" that God asks you to leave for Him today? Probably God has just given you what He asks for. Are you ready to leave it?

Think of the outcome of Abraham's faith. Every decision taken due to God's word is a road to life. You will get "everything" back if you leave them for God (see Hebrew 11:19). Everything!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 3:37 AM

DO YOU REMEMBER HIM? January 13, 2008 11:17 AM

Dearly Beloved,

DO YOU REMEMBER HIM?

"‘But when all goes well with you, remember me and show me kindness; mention me to Pharaoh and get me out of this prison.’ ... The chief cupbearer, however, did not remember Joseph; he forgot him" (Genesis 40:14, 23, NIV).

The elder brothers of Joseph hated him because of his bright future. They sold him into slavery in Egypt (Genesis 37). Even there, he was wrongly accused and thrown into prison (Genesis 39). Nevertheless, the Lord was with him and made him to find favor in the sight of the prison warder that he was made the chief prisoner in charge of other prisoners (Genesis 39:21, 22). In the course of his duty one day, he noticed that two of the prisoners were not happy. On enquiry, he discovered that each of them had had a terrified dream the previous night. He interpreted the dream of each of them and told the one with favorable interpretation not to forget him when he is freed, and that he should find ways to get him (Joseph) out of the prison. However, when that prisoner (who was the then cupbearer of Pharaoh) was freed and restored to his former esteemed position, he did not remember Joseph. It took God’s intervention after two years before he could remember Joseph.

Have you been expecting that someone will remember you and help you in one way or the other for so long a time? People may not remember you, but God does! Hear this: "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me" (Isaiah 49:15-16, NIV). In His own appointed time, God will remember you and elevate you to His desired position for your life.

Furthermore, who has helped you or in need of your help that you need to remember? Do you remember the person? For how long will you wait to remember the person and help him? God depends on you for the help of that person. You need to remember him and act now!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Points:

1. Lord, intervene in my affair and make the person that ought to help me remember me and help me now.

2. Remind me Lord about who I am suppose to help and enable me to help that person now.

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anonymous  January 21, 2008 3:27 AM

Dearly Beloved,

IN THE PRESENCE OF MY ENEMIES

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows" (Psalm 23:5, NIV).

Would you want your perceived enemies to be alive or dead? Would you want them to live well so that they can see the wonders that God will do in your life, or want God to get rid of them before He blesses you? The human nature makes one not only to rejoice at the misfortunes of one’s enemies, but to also wish them misfortunes and even invoke curses against them. Many people allow this human nature to control them in doing such things against their perceived enemies.

However, a regenerated man will have a positive attitude toward his perceived enemies. Apart from this, it is evident that is it is the pleasure of God to spare the lives of our perceived enemies so that they will witness the goodness of God in our lives, and even come to praise God with us and seek peace with us if possible.

This is what happened in the life of Isaac in Genesis 26. Isaac was in the land of Gerar, but the people there did not like him. They did all they could to frustrate him out of the land. However, the more they frustrated him the more God blessed him and made him to expand to the extent that his enemies came begging for reconciliation and treaty and apparently to share out of the blessings of God for Isaac. What a great triumph! Would Isaac have such if his enemies had died?

This reminds me of the words of David in Psalm 23: "You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows" (verse 5, NIV). In the presence of your enemies, the Lord will bless you abundantly. Your blessings will be so much that you will be a blessing even to your enemies. Your enemies will live long to witness your breakthrough, and they will long to make peace with you and possibly share out of your blessings in Jesus’ name. Amen.

However, a note of warning: let your ways be pleasing to the Lord! The Bible says, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7, NIV). Isaac ways were pleasing to God because he obeyed God (see Genesis 26:2-6). It is well with your soul!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

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anonymous MESSAGES FROM BAYO! January 21, 2008 3:25 AM


Bayo A.  [report anonymous abuse]  [ accepted]
 
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