Sunday, 27 April 2014

Living Single


1 Timothy 6:6 (KJV)
But godliness with contentment is great gain.


Excitedly she said to me, “I will like to marry a Nigerian, I love Africans!” Weeks after weeks, I kept praying about this solemn request of an American woman with 3 children who made a safe run from a man who was prepared to send her to an early grave. When God gave the first word concerning her situation, I looked for her and she was no longer there. Why? She stopped attending church because her need of being matched to a particular type of man was taking longer than she planned. Needless to say her life is self-ordered, not God-directed. Whitney Houston’s song, “I look to you”, mirrors the sound for what should be coming from the lips of every Believer who is living single.

When answers do not come to the age-old question of “Why am I not married?” we begin a cycle of frustration that has seen many getting married to ungodly mates. At the end of the day, neither marriage nor singleness would endure (1 Peter 1:25). Anger, resentment, depression, repression, anguish are feelings we go through as we place a demand on God for a mate. “Dear God, if you don’t do it by next year, forget about my worship!” Yet His Word declares, for he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust (Ps 103:14). Instead of holding on to the One who offers us unconditional love, we place a selfish demand for a tainted human love. We get it, and then begin crying to God to save us from wicked husbands and wives. 

We exchange voluntary love for involuntary love. To make things appear normal, we clothe the mate we seek or the one we have found in mystical or mythical garb forgetting that love, even in marriage, is based on the choices two individuals with different personalities make. Contentment is a conscious choice to accept, appreciate, enjoy and make the best use of what you have. You should be content living single knowing that God knows your innermost desires and would bless you with the things you need in due season. This is why Paul could say, I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content (Philippians 4:11).

Take Home Lesson: If you are not content living single only with God, how will you be content living with His son or daughter?

Homework: Ask yourself, ‘Is God sufficient for my singleness?’ Thank God for being more than enough.



Omolola Omoteso is a minister who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others. She is the host of Divine Connection and Chair for DC HOMES, an annual gathering for singles.  
This article was first published in eTeachit, a daily devotional.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Hurting Healers


Introduction

We know Jesus Christ to be The Healer. Why? He caused many to become whole again. How many? We may never be able to count them all as we have only the recorded facts but let’s name some of the amazing things The Healer did when He walked the earth. The Healer is able to sympathize with our weaknesses because He knows what we feel (Hebrews 4:15). Yet, He assures us that He will deliver us from them all (Psalm 34:19) and He will heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17). 

Questions:
  1. Who are the healers?
  2. Who are the hurting healers?
  3. So, why do we experience hurt?
  4. How can we live above hurt (offense)?

The Healers

Let me share a scenario with you. There was a long queue of people coming out from the congregation, all filing out towards the altar. They all had one thing in common, they needed healing, all sorts of healing; spiritual, emotional, physical etc. They believed so much in the anointing upon the man of God; all they needed for their healing was a touch from God through him. Days later the testimonies start rolling in; the blind now sees, the lame walk, the one called barren is now an expectant mother… The man of God is filled with joy for the lives of his congregation, for the numerous testimonies the Lord has brought through him. While thanking God he couldn’t help wondering for the umpteenth time, “When would my own healing come?” Many have been healed through him but he remains the way he is. He’s helped too many people yet he hurts beyond compare.

Just as Jesus healed, there are many who have been called into the healing ministry. They have become so sought after that they have had to devote more time to seeking the face of God. We know how Pastor Adeboye has fewer days that he eats than he fasts. Many seek his prayers and return to testify of God’s creative miracles of healing. There are others like him. But are these the only healers? John 14:12

Jesus The Hurting Healer

At a point in Jesus’ life, He was the Hurting Healer yet nobody paid attention Mark 14:32-40. The hurt became too much for him so he took His trusted disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane for support. Perhaps he thought, “They just might have some words of encouragement”. He even told them how sorrowful He was and how much He needed them to stand by Him (Vs. 34). But they had a better idea of what to do in a cool natural weather. They were very sure Jesus didn’t actually need them; He could take care of Himself. They didn’t imagine He could be hurting. Even if He had a problem, he just could touch Himself and it would disappear… Just like they had watched Him do in the case of the blind man, and the lame man, and the woman with the issue of blood….

But Jesus was in the garden not just weeping but sweating blood! (Luke 22:44). The King of kings Himself was hurting. It was a trying moment for Him. Even if His disciples couldn’t take His pain away, He must have wished they showed some concern; check on Him once in a while to be sure He was okay and safe instead of leaving him alone in the garden. He desperately needed company. The chosen disciples were not too far from Him but it was as good as they were not there because when He reached out for their help they couldn’t be reached.

Then He thought, “What could be happening to them?” He was selfless, he was compassionate; He put His own hurt aside and went in search of His trusted aides just to be sure they were alright. Imagine His disappointment when He met them sleeping… Sleeping? “You mean anyone could be sleeping on a night like this? If these three beloved disciples could be sleeping while I’m passing through this agony, then I doubt if anyone else would bother about Me”. He went back and kept praying but even His father didn’t seem to hear Him. For that moment, Jesus was on His own, no one to care. The Healer was hurting and no one paid attention.

Let's review some questions:

But in a place not too geographically removed from where the disciples enjoyed their sleep, what was happening to Jesus? Jesus was hurting. Despite his agony what was on His mind? He was concerned about the disciplines. How did the disciples' action intensify His agony? The fact that they were sleeping is what we can refer to as abandonment; this no doubt intensified His agony. Like our people would say OYO; on your own! How was his compassion greeted with disappointment? He looked for them out of compassion but he met His trusted allies sleeping, maybe even snoring! How did God come through for Him at this hour of intense hurt? How can you break out in blood and not be sick? It must have been grace that came through for Him, grace strengthened Him when all else failed. When the trail and tribulation could not be passed over, grace came through.

Who are the Hurting Healers?

If Jesus could hurt, it only shows that our leaders, pastors and workers (you and I) might be hurting too. We would never know if we don’t check on them and one another from time to time. We are all quick to put all our burdens on the leaders; some of us even expect them to fast for our own problems! Mummy and Daddy G.O bear our burdens, but who bears their burden? They counsel, pray, fast, make calls and send texts to church members to ensure all is well and encourage us but who encourages them? They come to the pulpit in their lovely suits and perfect smiles but if only we had gone to them few minutes or hours before then, we just might have found them crying in their own Gethsemane. If only we haven’t all believed the lie that they are perfect and without problems, they wouldn’t need to hurt so much. Whether laymen or ministers, we have been called to bear each other’s burden.

How could they hurt when they are called to heal?

They help many mend broken hearts but who mends their own hearts? Who bothers when they have problems that has defied solution? Is it possible that these healers have points of pain and hurt? Is everyone so sure they are in good shape; they sure shouldn’t or wouldn’t have problems. How could healers be hurting? Is it fathomable? But if we pause to think… These healers are humans, is it not only normal that they might have issues or problems too? Like Jesus’ disciples everyone comes to tap from them, no one ever thinks about their own welfare - spiritually, emotionally, materially or otherwise.

What can we deduce from Jesus’ reaction at Gethsemane?

  1. Jesus took no offense; He returned again and again until His hour came
  2. He remained The Healer; when the ear of an enemy was chopped off he brought forth healing
  3. He surrendered himself
  4. He empathized with his disciples who now have to live without a guide
  5. No pride was found in Him; He punished no one

Why should you live above hurt?

  1. It is satan’s tool of manipulation and control
  2. It can rob you of peace and the joy of salvation
  3. It can lead to loss of relationship and consequently sickness e.g. broken heart or depression
  4. It destroys harmony and unity
  5. It creates a gap between us and our greatest ally

How can we ensure that we live above hurt as Christians – leaders, workers, members etc.?

It is essential that we follow the example of The Healer who hurt deeply but took no offense.


How did Jesus live above hurt? Go and do likewise...

1.              He understood that offense was part of the deal - Luke 17:1-2
2.              He knew that forgiveness is part of His DNA; it was expected of Him - Luke 17:3-4
3.              He knew who sent Him and He remained within His calling - John 7:28-29, John 18:11
4.              He was compassionate - Luke 22:50-51
5.              Expectation births disappointment. He avoided unreasonable expectations - Psalm 62:5-6
6.              He put His absolute trust in God, not the disciples - Jeremiah 17:5, Psalm 62:7-8
7.              When they failed Him, He knew God’s grace was available - 2 Corinthians 12:9
8.              He knew the arm of flesh was bound to fail Him - Psalm 146:3-4, 2 Chronicles 32:8
9.              He focused on the higher calling not division - 1 Corinthians 1:10
10.            He understood that man was imperfect due to constant war against the flesh - Romans 7:18-19
11.            He was not self-motivated to take on the role of judge - Psalm 75:5-7
12.            He was humble and meek - Matthew 11:29, Romans 12:3
13.            He understood that there was neither competition nor comparison - 2 Cor. 10:12, Romans 12:10
14.            He was obedient to the death on the cross and all it includes - Philippians 2:8
15.            He did not get entangled in the offense of other disciplines - Luke 22:47-50
16.            He knew this was his personal problem, so He focused on the one who could help - Isaiah 26:3
17.            He put on the armour of light, despite the prevailing darkness - 13:12
18.            He did not contradict God's Word - 1 Chronicles 16:22, Psalm 105:14-15

Some years ago when I was out of employment, I said to God, all these ministers are so comfortable and none of them have deemed it fit to offer me a job or something from which I can earn an income. And God immediately said, “They do not see that you have a need”. At that point my voice went up, how could they not see! And God said, “Because you are covered in my glory. But if you’d like them to see, then I would take away my glory and they will see.” Brethren, I wasn’t wearing torn clothes, no one saw whether I had gari for breakfast or mixed okro with ground pepper for dinner.

A lady raised up her hand at a breakfast meeting at which I was ministering in 2010, she said “You are not married, how then can you tell us about marriage!” The Omolola before would have ordered her out of the meeting, how dare you! My people say you don’t count nine fingers in front of the owner (I hope I interpreted that well). But I answered as the Holy Spirit gave me utterance. I said, “I am doing what God says to do and applying the same skills I am teaching you; if it works, we will all see the difference within a year. Brethren, within a year I was married.

Your problem is not the pastor’s problem. Jesus did not get upset when the disciples chose not to be there for Him. If the pastor is led to solve your problem, good; if not, remember Psalm 27:10-14 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up. If someone abuses you with your challenge, go and cry to God, don’t bury yourself in pain, hurt and self-pity.

When someone without a car comes to celebrate the joy of a new car with you, that is not the time to say, “Your own too will come.” If the same thing is said to you when you visit someone at the hospital, how will you feel? When my Mum passed, my brother was told, “Welcome to the club” and he responded, “Did I apply?” Some called me and without knowledge of her age said congratulations. For what I asked? It got to a point, I just switched off my phone. But there were many who showed the love of God in more ways than I could imagine; these were the ones that lifted my spirit. Brethren let’s share joy and bear burdens, let’s mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice without any air of insensitivity.

Conclusion

Many are hurting and we can help them heal by being there for them. We may not be able to take their pain away but we can lighthen their burdens (Galatians 6:2) instead of being wrapped in our own hurt. A text, a call, a visit, maybe even a little gift would go a long way to show those who stand in the gap for us that we care. Let them know you are praying for them, that they are not alone or on their own. If Jesus was not a superman then no one could ever be. The healers are hurting too, be a healer to them.

 


This teaching was inspired by a much shorter version published in the RCCG Balm of Gilead newsletter by 
Olufikayo Famuyiwa in 2005. Other versions have since been written by Omolola. This latest version 
was used as a Bible Study teaching handout by Mrs. Omolola Omoteso-Famuyiwa, 
a minister who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Avoid The Wasting Close

Isaiah 40:31 (KJV)
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.


Remember the story of the maidens and the lamps? There were 10 of them; five had oil in the lamps when the bridegroom arrived, but the other five did not. God always arrives but will you be there? Will you be ready? You are waiting for a husband or a wife. But the question to ask is are you waiting, or are you wasting?

There are two different ways to wait: ACTIVELY and PASSIVELY. When you wait actively, you are wise. When you wait passively you are foolish. Passive wait should actually be called wasting! All you are doing is wasting your period of preparation. Many of Singles are at the  'wasting close' where there is no way out except back to the 'waiting boulevard'
where you can pray and prepare. The Bible says, “Faith without work is dead”. Do  you know what a close is? It is a name given to streets where there are no outlets. Being single is not a state of destitution. Singles can live vibrantly and be on fire for God. Many Singles can even have a happier life than those who are married and unhappy. Are you using your time wisely?

David in Psalm 62:1 say, "Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation". Salvation here of course also means being saved from the trauma, grief or stress of waiting. To wait is to sit in active silence and listen to God’s voice and words, watch for His revelations, hear His command, obey His directives and act. Act upon God’s instructions to you. What God wants you to do is not predicated upon whether or not you are married.

Take Home Lesson: Are you waiting or wasting?  Waiting is a time of preparation; we miss the lesson when we wait passively (waste) by doing nothing to prepare for the future.

Homework: How are you approaching your wait time in God’s throne room? Pray for grace and strength to prepare for what God has in store for you.


Omolola Omoteso is a minister who is passionate about sharing God's words for the healing of others. She is the host of Divine Connection and Chair for DC HOMES, an annual gathering for singles.  
This article was first published in eTeachit, a daily devotional.