With each passing day God makes Himself more manifest and tangible to me,especially through the agency of His word. Although I am a pastor and a minister of the Gospel, not unlike everyone else, I face financial, physical, emotional, health and other problems.
Some of these problems are irritatingly persistent and cyclical. This is what makes many believers think that they are labouring under a curse. They therefore run from pillar to post seeking a “real man of God” who will conduct a deliverance for them and finally make their many problems permanently disappear. To this end, many fall into the claws of unscrupulous wolves in sheep’s clothing; charlatans who exploit them,use and abuse them and control them.It is however not a curse we are labouring under but ignorance.
BLESSED BEYOND A CURSE
Let us get one thing straight once and for all. You are not cursed , nor are you under any curse. Hear what God’s word says:
“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”, that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
(Galatians 3:13-14) Even under the Old Covenant a servant of God emphatically declares about God’s people:
“Behold, I have received commandment to bless: and He hath blessed; and I cannot reverse it. …… Surely there is no enchantment against Jacob, neither is there any divination against Israel…” (Numbers 23: 20,23) Poverty is a curse; sickness is a curse; plagues are a curse; “working like an elephant and eating like an ant” is a curse; having to labour, toil and sweat before you can get the earth’s harvest is a curse. All these things you must resist using the unfailing guarantee of God’s word. But as for you as a blood-washed saint, together with your household, you are blessed beyond any curse and any witchcraft-based incantations and pronouncements that any man can utter.
YET YOU WILL SUFFER…
As long as you are in this world and in the flesh, however, there are some sufferings that you will have to endure. Paul warns his spiritual son, Timothy : ” Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” (2 Timothy 3:12) David, on his part, tells us: “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” Finally, even The Lord Jesus Himself prepared us when He said: “….In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) I guess that makes a mockery of one of those silly choruses that we sing in Nigeria in Pidgin English
“Me I no go suffer (As for me I will never suffer)
I no go beg for bread (I will never lack provision)
God of miracle, na my Papa oh !(2ce) (Because the miracle-working God is my Father)
REJOICE, LEAP FOR JOY
Jesus taught His disciples to expect to be hated, ostracised, reproached, maligned and slandered for being His disciples in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. Paul tells us that part of the privilege of our faith is not just believing in Christ, but also suffering for His sake (Philippians 1:29) indeed we see this played out in Acts5:41 after the Apostles had been unjustly beaten for preaching the Gospel. We are told: “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name”. Jesus promises that the reward for such suffering is great in heaven and puts its recipients in the company of the prophets of old and indeed Jesus Himself.
On two separate occasions however, Peter warns us to make sure that we are not enduring sufferings for our misdeeds as that is of no benefit whatsoever. “But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.To this end you were called because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.”(1 Peter 2:20-21) He reiterates in the next chapter: “But and if ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;” Peter’s conclusion is poignant: “For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” (1 Peter 3:14,17)
So here you are, being oppressed or picked on because of your faith. Or perhaps you are suffering deprivation because you simply refuse to compromise on your Christian values. What is the Lord’s instruction at this time? Simple- He asks you to “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy”. ( Luke 6:23 NIV). What a strange instruction in the midst of a crisis! Obeying is even stranger as this level of exuberant joy and praise is only elicited by and characteristic of obvious victories,breakthroughs or blessings.
BUT THE JUST SHALL LIVE BY FAITH
True believers do not wait to see the victories, breakthroughs or blessings before they start to praise God clamorously and riotously. Faith after all is the substance of things we hope for and the evidence of what is yet to be seen. The Psalmist in Psalm 67 is expecting the mercy and blessing of The Lord and His favour. The ultimate goal is that God’s way and His salvation be known in the earth.
LET ALL THE PEOPLE PRAISE THEE
What is our role in this noble divine process? Verse 3 tells us: “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” Verse 4 emphasises the call: “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.” Verse 5 returns to the call in verse three because this is the key to the victory and the blessings and the breakthrough: “Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.” If only God could get us all praising Him and offering up songs of joy at this time irrespective of our situations. For those who have something to sing and shout and praise for, it is quite straightforward. For those going through the fire and the flood however, it is a sacrifice of praise, a journey of faith, a determination to trust Him even when we cannot trace Him. This level of obedience is considered by God to be far superior to sacrifice or any outward display of religion or its attendant observances. This praise in the midst of the storms, joy in afflictions, rejoicing in suffering attracts the response from God contained in verses 6 and 7: “Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our God, shall bless us.God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.”
I have begun to praise Him. I have begun to appreciate what He gave me the privilege to go through, and to rejoice in it all. I am learning to give thanks in all things recognising that this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for me. As you catch this revelation and do the same, every earth you sow into will yield its abundance and God who is our own God and Father shall bless us. His blessings on our lives will be so awesome and marvellous that all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.
In part two of this message, we shall see how God can and will bless you in the land of your enemy and by the most unusual means and people. Meanwhile, welcome to your month of unusual provision.
Shalom and remember that you are loved, precious and appreciated.