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Post  Admin on Mon 09 Dec 2013, 8:21 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHO WILL YOU GIVE HAMPER THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John
3:16 NKJV).

Ordinarily, a hamper is a large basket, usually with a cover, used for the
packing and carrying of articles. There has been a long tradition of
community and social philanthropy and charity related to hampers, whereby
persons or community groups donate to needy people a hamper of food,
clothing, toiletries, cleaning products, or other household necessities, to
assist with their family needs. Until recently, in the Western tradition,
such hampers containing tinned or packaged goods are given out to
employees, business clients, family and friends during Christmas season,
though some people do so anytime of the year. This practice is somehow
associated with the Boxing Day.

Interestingly, the purpose of giving of hampers during this season has been
defeated as most people are giving it for selfish motives. This is
applicable to corporate bodies that give hampers out to their clients. Many
of these organizations are using hampers as a way of endearing their
clients more to the organizations. Even many of those that are receiving
the gifts are selfish too, as only the superior officers share the gifts,
neglecting the junior staff.

Jesus Christ is the greatest Hamper of all time given by God not because of
Himself but because of the salvation of the world. The most popular verse
of the Bible, John 3:16, confirms this. Isaiah 9:6 says, “For unto us a
Child is born, unto us a Son is given...” (NKJV). Many people celebrate the
Child that was born, but neglect the Son that is given and do not follow
the spirit of love that made God to give the Son.

Giving of hampers should not be restricted to corporate bodies alone.
Individuals can also give “hampers” to other people, especially the less
privileged so that they also can celebrate this season. As you are planning
to celebrate this Christmas, who will you give hamper this Christmas season?

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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Post  Admin on Mon 25 Nov 2013, 1:18 am

Dearly Beloved,
SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS? (A
Rejoinder)
“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to
him it is sin†(James 4:17 NKJV).
I am so grateful to everyone that reacted to my weekly message
last week. Expectedly, some people reacted negatively, but majority reacted
positively. Those that reacted negatively have their reasons, though not
convincing to me. Out of the responses, some issues were raised that are worthy
of note in this rejoinder.
One, who is really a Christian? Is one a Christian by birth,
name, church attendance, religious services, morality, or genuine personal
relationship with Jesus Christ? This has to be clarified.
Two, does the fact that Jesus Christ did not actively
participate in the politics of His days while on earth make Christians not to
do so today? Then, it means Christians should not get married because Jesus
Christ did not get married while on earth. Was Jesus Christ not the Leader of
His disciples?
Three, should we abandon politics to unbelievers because they
have spoilt it without making efforts to correct the anomalies in present-day
politics? Can we make any meaningful change in politics without active
participation? It is a fact that Christians are not of the world, but we are in
the world. While we are still in the world, we are to be light and salt of the
world (see Matthew 5:13-16). Can we light the darkness of the world by being
indifferent to the world?
Four, one main tenet of politics is “Majority carries the vote
while minority have their say.†Are we Christians content with the ungodly
decisions of the majority unbelievers in politics? No wonder, we continue to
have our say that does not change anything.
Five, what is the purpose of being active in politics? Is it for
selfish gain or the common good of the populace and to the glory of God?
Apostle Paul admonished that “...whatever you do, do all to the glory of God (1
Corinthians 10:31 NKJV), “and whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord
and not to men†(Colossians 3:23 NKJV).
Six, before being actively involved in politics (or even any
venture), are you really convinced that God is leading you into it? Christians
get corrupted in politics only when they are not following the leadership of
the Holy Spirit. 
From most of the reactions to my message last week, it is
affirmative that Christians should be actively involved in politics. However,
for people that still have negative or indifferent response, accurate answers
to the above questions will make them to have as a rethink to their stance. The
fact that one does not have flair for active politics does not mean one must
discourage those that feel that God is leading them into it. Besides, each of
us has the civic responsibilities of voting for our desired leaders and praying
for those in leadership positions.
If the world does not know how to do clean politics, Christians
that are led by God should boldly come out to show the way. Failure to do so is
a sin!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Points:
1. Pray for the courage for every Christian that is led to go
into politics.
2. Pray for people in government that they will yield to the
leadership of God.

Send your comments/reactions to me directly at
spiritualdigest@yahoo.com. God bless you!
___________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Sun 17 Nov 2013, 11:11 pm

Dear Beloved,
SHOULD CHRISTIANS BE ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN POLITICS?
“Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an
excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the
whole realm” (Daniel 6:3 NKJV).
Undoubtedly,
my devotional message this week is controversial and I want your candid opinion
about this issue: Should Christians be actively involved in politics? My answer
is YES. However, two incidents made me decide to raise the issue here. The
first incident: I posted a message on my Facebook wall pages and also broadcast
the message through the BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) that instead of criticizing
people in government, we should be praying for them. Some people disagreed with
me on this issue. Someone, after he engaged me in a long debate, decided to
delete me from his BBM contact list. The argument of people that disagreed with
me in praying for those in government is that most of the people in government
have disappointed the people they govern. The second incident: there was a
discussion in my local church about pressure groups and having dialogue with
the government. Part of my contribution to the discussion was that Christian
should be actively involved in politics if we Christians want any tangible
change in government. Interestingly, the congregation was divided along the
line of those who supported my submission and those that did not support it. The
argument of those that did not support active participation of Christians in
politics is that the Christians will be corrupt by other people in politics. 
Based
on the injunctions of the Holy Bible, apart from submission, we are to be
praying for our leaders especially political leaders, even when they are bad
leaders (1 Timothy 2:1-3; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-17). If
Christians refuse to pray for these leaders, probably because they are bad, how
will they govern rightly? If “the king's heart is in the hand of the Lord,
[and] like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1
NKJV), then Christians ought to commit the hearts and the whole lives of
government officers to God’s hand for divine leadership.
Many
people in the Bible were actively involved in the politics of their days and
they were not corrupt by it. A classical example is Daniel who distinguished
himself above other politicians of his time. Nehemiah, Zerubabel, Ezra,
Gamaliel, Joseph of Arimathea, Joseph (son of Jacob in Egypt) and countless
kings like David also used their political positions to positively influence
the government of their days. If these people were not actively involved in
politics then, only God knows what would have happened negatively to people of
their time.
I
will still say affirmatively that Christians should be actively involved in
politics if we do not want unbelievers to continue governing us. Politics may
be a dirty game, but Christians should go into it and make it clean. However,
any Christian that will go into active politics must be sure that God is
leading him/her to do so, and he/she must be ready to be there “...to the glory
of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31 NKJV). Such a person must also be ready to be a
light and a salt in the world of politics (see Matthew 5:13-16). For other
Christians, “...supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks
[should] be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we
may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is
good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior...” (1 Timothy 2:1-3 NKJV).
In
His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer
Points:
1.
Pray for the courage for every Christians that are led to go into politics.
2.
Pray for people in government that they will yield to the leadership of God.
NB Send
your comments/reactions to me directly at spiritualdigest@yahoo.com
God bless you!
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Post  Admin on Sun 10 Nov 2013, 10:36 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHY THANKING GOD?

“Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be
thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in
Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]” (1 Thessalonians
5:18 AMP).

The Yorubas and many other tribes in Africa are fond of saying “Thank God”
whenever they are been appreciated for anything they do. I am greatly
influenced by this practice and it reflects in my chat with people
regardless of who they are. Some people who are not Africans have
questioned me more than once why I or they need to thank God for a mere
conversation. However, the Holy Bible enjoins us to give thanks to God in
everything (see Psalm 34:1; Ephesians 5:20; Philippians 4:6; Colossians
3:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:18; Hebrews 13:15). In fact, most part of the book
of Psalms (which is the largest book in the Bible) is full of thanksgiving
and praises of God.

Have you ever thought why you should thank God? One of the most popular
psalms, Psalm 100, gives some reasons why one should thank God. One, He is
the LORD God (verse 3a). Two, He is the One that created everything and
everybody, and everything and everybody belong to Him (verse 3b). Three, He
is good to His creation and His love for them endures from generation to
generation (verse 5). Apostle Paul, in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 said that
thanking God is the will of God for us.

Interestingly, as Job demonstrated, thanking God should not be only when
things are pleasant. Even, in one’s adversity, one should learn how to
thank God. Thanking God in such situation means that one knows that God is
above the situation and that our relationship with Him should not be
conditional. A careful study of the psalms in the Bible will reveal that in
spite of the fact that they are full of thanksgiving and praises of God,
most of them were composed in distress.

Is thanking God your habit? In this Thanksgiving season, do you have
reasons to thank God? Thanking God should never be conditional or out of
season. As for me, I have countless reasons to thank God and I will always
thank Him. God, I thank You!

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray for a thankful heart that will be thanking God in all
situations.
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Post  Admin on Sun 03 Nov 2013, 9:01 pm

Dearly Beloved,
THINGS OFFERED TO IDOLS
"Therefore
concerning the eating of things offered to idols, we know that an idol is
nothing in the world, and that there is no other God but one" (1
Corinthians 8:4 NKJV).
The
ancient city of Corinth was a cosmopolitan city. This made the young church in
the city to have many socio-cultural problems. Paul had to write many letters
to them to address some of the problems that confronted the church. One of such
problems addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 8 had to do with things offered to
idols. These were by and large meat offered in sacrifice, and then either
brought for sale in the market, or served up at the feasts held in honour of
idols, at their temples, or at the houses of their adherents. Some of the
Corinthian Christians were of the opinion that it does not matter to eat such
meat especially one bought in market; others opined that it does matter and
that it can become a stumbling-block to young Christians. Of most concern was
the meat offered to idols and later used to entertain people. Should a
Christian partake in such entertainment?
Well,
to Paul, even the idols are nothing compared to God, the Creator of the
universe. The idols are just mere gods. So, eating things offered to idols does
not matter. However, because of conscience, especially of the young and weak
Christians, one may abstain from eating such things offered to idols.
What
are the things seemingly offered to idols around you? These may not necessarily
be meat or food used in shrines, but day-to-day activities that are
controversial and that may cause young and weak Christians to stumble. What is
your opinion about such things?
Paul
later gave this instruction: “‘Everything is permissible’ -- but not everything
is beneficial. ‘Everything is permissible’ -- but not everything is
constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others.... So
whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do
not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God?"
(1 Corinthians 10:23-32 NIV. Read Romans 14 for Paul's further instruction on
this matter).
In
His service,
Bayo
Afolaranmi (Pastor)
Prayer Requests:
1.
Lord, do not let me cause others to stumble by my actions and words.
2.
Let my actions and words always glorify you, Lord, and build up others around
me.
 
NB
This message was first sent out on December 4, 2005.
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Post  Admin on Sun 27 Oct 2013, 4:37 pm

Dearly Beloved,
REMOVE THE ASHES!

“Then the priest, wearing his linen robe and linen shorts, shall remove the
greasy ashes left on the altar and put them at the side of the altar. Then
he shall change his clothes and take the ashes outside the camp to a
ritually clean place. The fire on the altar must be kept burning and never
allowed to go out. Every morning the priest shall put firewood on it,
arrange the burnt offering on it, and burn the fat of the fellowship
offering. The fire must always be kept burning on the altar and never
allowed to go out” (Leviticus 6:10-13 TEV).

When I was growing up in the village, there was a usual practice of
removing ashes from the hearth and setting them aside or even throwing them
away. I did not know why this act was done until later when I understood
that ashes do not allow fresh fire to glow. In fact, ashes quench flaming
fire if they are too much in the hearth, and they are used at times to
deliberately quench flaming fire. As long as there are minimal ashes, the
fire in the hearth will continue to glow.

When God was given the Law to the people of Israel through Moses, one of
the duties of the high priest was to remove ashes from the altar that was
used for burnt offering and take them to another place. Every morning after
doing this, the priest should place new firewood on the altar (see
Leviticus 6:10-13, also Numbers 4:13). The reason for this act was to allow
fresh fire to be burning continuously on the altar. As long as ashes were
removed from the altar, the new firewood would be free to produce
continuous fire on the altar.

The main purpose of firewood is to be burnt and produce fire. Most of the
time, this is used productively either in cooking, warming a place,
offering sacrifice, and the likes. The end product of burnt firewood is
ashes. Anyone who now focuses on the ashes will not make another flaming
fire.

The implication of these is that anyone who refuses to “remove the ashes”
of his/her past successes will not make new successes. As good as those
past successes are, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to make more
successes if one is still preoccupying oneself with those past successes.
Jesus Christ had a successful ministry in Capernaum as He “healed many who
were sick with all kinds of diseases and drove out many demons” (Mark 1:34
TEV). The following day while the people were looking for Him to continue
the good work, He led His disciples to other places where He continued His
ministry. He did not let the success of yesterday to hinder Him of moving
on in His ministry. Apostle Paul knew this secret and he declared: “Of
course, my brothers, I really do not think that I have already won it; the
one thing I do, however, is to forget what is behind me and do my best to
reach what is ahead. So I run straight toward the goal in order to win the
prize, which is God's call through Christ Jesus to the life above”
(Philippians 3:13-14 TEV).

Just as ashes can also be as a result of destruction by fire,
unfortunately, the “ashes” in some people’s lives can be failures,
disappointments and other bad things of life. One has to remove these ashes
and move on with one’s life. After all, if there is life, there is hope.

What are the “ashes” you need to remove in your life? Remove them now if
you want to forge ahead in your endeavours and keep the fire of progress
burning.

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be able to remove all the ashes in your
life and keep the fire in your life burning.

NB
Now that users of Android and iPhones can use BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) on
their devices, visit http://global. blackberry. com/bbm/en. html to download
the application and get your BBPIN. Then invite me with this BB
PIN:29275BB9 to enjoy my daily messages through BBM.

God bless you!
__________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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Post  Admin on Sun 20 Oct 2013, 10:17 pm

Dearly Beloved,
SUFFERING IS INEVITABLE

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving
us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21 NKJV).

After having a personal Bible study on the first epistle of Peter some
weeks ago, I was led to base one of my weekly devotional messages on the
main theme of the epistle: Christian suffering. Such a theme is not a
popular theme. I did struggle with the theme before yielding myself to the
leadership of the Holy Spirit. Peter also initially did not want to be
associated with it, and he rebuked Jesus Christ for predicting His own
suffering, though Jesus in turn rebuked him and let him and other disciples
realize that suffering is inevitable in the Christian life (see Matthew
16:21-25).

Having gone to the “school” of suffering many times in his Christian life,
Peter understood the concept of Christian suffering and he could boldly
write his first epistle to Christians to encourage them to face suffering
so that the true grace of Jesus Christ would be evidenced in them. He made
them realize that suffering for being a Christian is following the steps of
Christ who also suffered in His body for our sins (see 1 Peter 2:21, 24;
3:18; 4:1). In fact, Peter wanted his recipients to rejoice that they were
partaking in Christian suffering (1 Peter 4:13). Interestingly, the
original recipients of Peter were passing through many suffering when he
wrote this epistle. Apostle Paul also had a similar understanding when he
prayed in Philippians 3:10: “that I may know Him and the power of His
resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His
death” (NKJV). He had earlier pointed it out that suffering is included in
our faith in Christ (see Philippians 1:29 and 2 Timothy 3:12).

Another fact about Christian suffering is that it is a way of sharpening
Christian faith and bringing the best out of Christians. Peter likened it
to the relationship of fire and gold. As fire purifies and refines gold to
make it valuable, so also Christian suffering makes Christian faith of
greater worth than gold (see 1 Peter 1:6-7).

As Peter emphasized it, Christian suffering is not one that is as a result
of wrongdoing (see 1 Peter 4:15). It is sharing in the “suffering of
Christ” which brings salvation to mankind and brings glory in the future.
No wonder, Peter said that we should rejoice in it.

What kind of suffering are you passing through presently? Is it for
wrongdoing? Repent and ask for God’s forgiveness. However, if it is
Christian suffering, that is, because you are a Christian and you are doing
the will of God, rejoice, for you will also share in Christ’s glory at His
coming. For a Christian to follow in Christ’s step, Christian suffering is
indeed inevitable.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Lord, help me to endure any suffering I am having now because
of Your name.
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Post  Admin on Tue 08 Oct 2013, 9:16 am

Dearly Beloved,
LORD, DISMISS US WITH THY BLESSING
“The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV).
One of the hymns I cherish is “LORD, DISMISS US WITH THY BLESSING.” I can sing its Yoruba version extemporaneously. It is one of the hymns we normally use as closing hymns. John Fawcett (1740-1817) wrote the benediction that became the first two stanzas, while the third stanza was attributed to Godfrey Thring. John Fawcett was ordained a Baptist minister at Wainsgate, Yorkshire. The stanzas attributed to him might have been written in 1772 when he was invited to London to succeed J. Gill as pastor of the Carter’s Lane Baptist Church. On the day of his departure, he had preached his farewell sermon, the wagons were loaded, and he was ready to go. But he was so overcome by the thought of leaving the congregation he had come to love that he canceled his plans and stayed in Wainsgate. In 1793, he was also invited to become president of the Baptist Academy in Bristol, but he similarly declined.
In stanza 1, like a seasoned pastor or priest proclaiming the benediction after a worship service, John Fawcett prayed that the Lord should dismiss his congregation with divine blessing; that He should fill their hearts with joy and peace; and let them each possess divine love, as they triumph in redeeming grace. He added that God should refresh the congregation as they travel through the wilderness of the world. In stanza 2, Fawcett gave thanks and adoration for the Gospel’s joyful sound. He prayed that the fruits of divine salvation should abound in the hearts and lives of his congregation, and that they should be found ever faithful to the truth. In the additional stanza attributed to Godfrey Thring, Thring added a word of prayer to conclude the hymn: when the divine love calls us away from this world, the Savior should let no fear of death appall us, and that as we gladly obey the divine summons, we should ever reign with God in endless day.
As you meditate on this hymn of prayer, may the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you in Jesus’ name. Amen.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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Post  Admin on Mon 30 Sep 2013, 4:14 pm

Dearly Beloved,
THE OUTWARD APPEARANCE
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have
rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at
the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7
NIV).
"Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right
judgment" (John 7:24 NIV).
Samuel was a great man of God. Some Bible scholars have said
that only Moses was greater than him in the leadership history of the people of
Israel. The people respected him, and God also specially chose him to be His
mouthpiece right from his childhood. In his life-long priestly and prophetic
career, he made a silly mistake - judging by the outward appearance. However,
God quickly called him to order before he effected his judgment and anointed
the wrong person as the king of Israel.
People have used their outward appearance to deceive other
people - even men of God. They have appeared good outwardly, but evil inwardly.
Openly, they say and do good things, but secretly, they are devils. Eliab is a
good example. Samuel saw him as a good candidate for the kingship, but his true
colour manifested when David decided to go and fight the giant Goliath. The
Bible says he burned with anger and discouraged him from doing so (1 Samuel 17:
28-30).
Do you deceive people with your outward appearance? What is your
opinion about the saying, "First impression lasts long"? Do you also
normally base your judgment of people on outward appearance? Pray for the
discerning spirit to know the mind of men.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
NB
This message was first sent out on September 18, 2005.
"I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. FOR TO ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN" (Philippians 1:20-21, NIV).

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Post  Admin on Sun 22 Sep 2013, 7:35 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHO OWNS YOUR CHURCH?
“...I will build My church...” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV).
“...I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct
yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar
and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15 NKJV).
The word church has been used to mean many things. The term
“church” can be referred to at least four meanings: one, a building used for
public Christian worship; two, a local group of Christians (worshipping in such
building); three, a particular Christian organization, typically one with its
own clergy, buildings, and distinctive doctrines (another word for this is a
denomination) ; and four, all believers in Jesus Christ or adherents of
Christian faith. Simply, the church is the assembly of a local group of
Christians living in a certain place or the universal church comprises of all
believers in Jesus Christ both living and dead.
There has been a trend where an individual or group of people
refers to a particular church (local assembly) or a number of churches
(probably a denomination) as “my” or “our” church. Some other people will refer
to the church as “their” or “your” church. These references may be to the
leader (or leaders) of the church or founder of the denomination. Undoubtedly,
this trend has affected the way such people view or administer things of the
church. However, the big question is: who owns the church?
Jesus Christ, in His response to Peter’s confession, simply
said, “...I will build MY church...” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV emphasis mine). By
implication, the church belongs to Jesus Christ. Apostle Paul explained this
further by referring to the church as “the church of the living God” (1 Timothy
3:15 NKJV). Each word here is very important. The preposition “of” is referring
to who really owns the church. The church does not belong to any other person
than the living God. The article “the” is emphasizing the fact that there is no
other god, but the one and only true God. The adjective “living” is
highlighting the eternity, strength and vitality of God. Lastly, the noun which
is the most important word is referring to GOD, not man or any other thing. No
wonder, Jesus Christ added that “the gates of Hades shall not prevail against
it” (Matthew 16:18 NKJV).  
Who owns your church? Is it your pastor, general overseer or
founder of your denomination? Are you even thinking that you are the owner of
your church? Ascribing the ownership of any church to any man or group of
people is like sharing God’s glory with such man or group of people. The only
exception here is if the church is not a church of God. 
Who owns your church?
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Lord, help me to recognize You as the owner of the
church.
 
____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Tue 17 Sep 2013, 1:27 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHAT WENT WRONG?
"Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD
his God" (2 Chronicles 14:2 NIV).
"Asa was angry with the [prophet] because of [the admonition];
he was so enraged that he put him in prison. At the same time Asa brutally
oppressed some of the people" (2 Chronicles 16:10 NIV).
Asa was one of good kings of Judah. The writers of the
Scriptures chronicled his good deeds thus: he did what was good and right in
the eyes of the LORD his God (2 Chronicles 14:2); he removed the foreign gods
and the high places (2 Chronicles 14:3, 5); he expelled the male
shrine-prostitutes from the land of Judah (1 Kings 15:12); he commanded the
people of Judah to seek God and obey Him (2 Chronicles 14:4); he trusted God in
time of war (verses 11); he repaired the altar of the LORD (2 Chronicles
15:8b); he led the people of Judah and even some from Israel to reestablish
their covenant with God (2 Chronicles 15:10-14); he even deposed his
grandmother Maacah from her position as queen mother because of her idolatry (2
Chronicles 15:16); and his heart was fully committed to the LORD all his life
(2 Chronicles 15:17). Because of these, God gave him and his people rest on every
side (2 Chronicles 14:6, 7). Even when somebody with a vast army waged war
against him, God gave him a resounding victory with many plunders (2 Chronicles
14:9-15).
Nevertheless, his last years were a tragedy! He abandoned the
almighty God for a mere man when another country waged war against him (2
Chronicles 16:1-6). When a prophet of God confronted him for his lack of trust
in God, he was angry and put the prophet in prison (2 Chronicles 16:7-10). He
also brutally oppressed some of his people (2 Chronicles 16:10b). When he was
afflicted with a disease, he refused to seek God (2 Chronicles 16:12). He died
in that disease!
One may wonder what actually went wrong in the life of Asa. Why
did he start well and ended tragically? The writers of the Scriptures did not
give a hint to his decadence. Apparently, his successes went to his head and he
forgot his God. 
This is a food for thought for all of us. Think about yourself.
Are you serving God the way you used to serve Him some years ago? Are you not
deteriorating in your devotion to God? What went wrong? You have to think about
it in your relationship with God and "Give careful thought to your
ways" (Haggai 1:5, 7 NIV).
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
NB
This message was first sent out on September 11, 2005.
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Post  Admin on Mon 09 Sep 2013, 10:05 pm

Dearly Beloved,
ACCEPTING TROUBLES FROM GOD?
“Job replied, ‘Don't talk like a fool! If we accept blessings
from God, we must accept trouble as well.’ In all that happened, Job never once
said anything against God” (Job 2:10 CEV).
Recently in the “Spiritual Digest for the Day” – an aspect of my
Internet ministry where I send out an inspiring quote and an almost
corresponding Bible verse, I used the above verse. One of my contacts asked me
these questions: “Does God bring troubles?” and “Should we accept troubles from
God?” These questions will be the bases for my devotional thought this week. To
Job in the Bible, God brought his troubles and he was ready to accept them
because of his understanding of God. However, since we have the privilege of
knowing what happened in the background, we know that God did not bring the
troubles of Job. Satan did! Nevertheless, God allowed Satan to do so for a
purpose: to prove the righteousness of Job.
In theology – the study about God and His relation with man,
there is what is called “theodicy” – the goodness and justice of God in spite
of evil in the world. The story of Job really illustrates this. God is good and
just, but He allows evil by Satan and his cohorts for His divine purposes. Only
those that have a shallow idea of God will blame God for the evil in the world.
Expectedly, some have even because of the evil in the world declared that God
does not exist. On the other hand, only a narrow-minded man like Job’s wife
will think that evil will not or cannot happen to righteous people. There are
two truths that one should bear in mind. One, since the Fall of Man in Genesis
3, this world is full of evil, but God assures us that the evil will not
overcome us. Jesus Christ confirmed this when He told His disciples in John
16:33, “I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts
because of me. While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But cheer
up! I have defeated the world” (CEV). See also Deuteronomy 31:6-8; Psalm 23:4;
46:4-7; 91:15; Isaiah 43:1-2; 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Two, God is working
through the evil of the world to bring out the best out of His children. In
Paul’s words, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those
who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28 NIV).
The analogy of a raw gold or silver that has to be refined in fire before it
becomes valuable is a good example (see Psalm 66:8-12; Zechariah 13:9; Malachi
3:2-4; 1 Peter 1:6-9).
Therefore, to answer the two questions posed by that contact,
God does not bring troubles, but He allows them and works through them to
fulfill His purposes in our lives. Also, we must be ready to pass through any
trouble that comes our way with the belief that God will bring us out of it and
make us better in Him through the trouble.
In His service, 
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray that you will be able to accept any trouble
and allow God to make stronger in Him through it. 
 
____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Sun 01 Sep 2013, 11:44 pm

Dearly Beloved,

WHEN YOU ARE ACCUSED FALSELY

“When his master heard the story his wife told him, saying, ‘This is how
your slave treated me,’ he burned with anger. Joseph's master took him and
put him in prison...” (Genesis 39:19-20 NIV).

One of my friends sought my counsel recently. Being one of the people in
charge of counting collected church offerings, he was accused of stealing
out of the offerings. He was not happy about the whole issue.I asked him
whether the allegation was true or not. He confessed that it was false. I
counselled him to leave everything to God and allow God to vindicate him.

The counsel was bitter for him to accept. I then reminded him of Joseph’s
story in the house of Potiphar in Egypt. Here was a man who was sold into
slavery by his own brothers. His master’s wife accused him falsely, and he
was thrown into prison. However, he left everything to God and allowed God
to vindicate him. God did vindicate him. The next verses attest to this:
“But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him; he showed
him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. So the
warden put Joseph in charge of all those held in the prison, and he was
made responsible for all that was done there”(Genesis 39:20-22NIV) . That
was not the end of the story. Joseph came out of prison to become the prime
minister in a foreign land. Interestingly, nothing was heard again about
Potiphar and his wife. Joseph was indeed vindicated.

Have you been accused falsely? Are you serving a punishment for that false
accusation? Leave everything to God. God is with you. He will show you
kindness and grant you favour even in that situation. He will eventually
vindicate you.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Vindicate me, O Lord, when I am accused wrongly.
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Post  Admin on Sun 25 Aug 2013, 10:56 pm

Dearly Beloved,
HE SENT HIM THERE
"…and he sent a man before them – Joseph, sold as a slave.
They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons…" (Psalm
105:17-18 NIV).
The story of Joseph has been one of the pathetic but interesting
stories in the Bible. Joseph, a loved child, was hated by his elder brothers
because of his destine. He was thrown to an empty cistern by these brothers who
earlier planned to kill him. They sold him as slave to foreigners who took him
to Egypt. In Egypt, he was sent to prison for a sin he did not commit. You can
imagine the hardship he would have as a slave and a prisoner – the bruises of
shackles in his feet, the pains of iron chains on his neck, etc. Even in
prison, he was forgotten by those that should have rescued him from all these
misfortunes. In spite of this, God was working behind the scene for his good.
Remember that in each of these situations, the Bible records it that the Lord
grant him favour in the eyes of everybody (see Genesis 39:4, 5, 21-23). In
fact, he confirmed it to his brothers later that it was God that sent him ahead
of them to Egypt to preserve lives (see Genesis 45:5-7; 50:20). Actually, Joseph's
story was not a tragedy, for he was made the prime minister of Egypt the very
day he was brought out of prison.
Think of yourself. What are you passing through? What is
happening to you now that seems as misfortune? What shackles and irons of
hardship are you experiencing now? Who knows, it may be God that sent you to
this apparent misfortune to bring something good out of you. He may be
purifying you as gold in fire of life so that you will come out more shining
(see 1 Peter 1:6-7). The Psalmist corroborates this. Hear him: "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 66:10-12 NIV).
Beloved, no matter what you are passing through, God knows about
it, and He has a purpose for allowing it. Paul confirms this in Romans 8:28,
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love
him, who have been called according to his purpose" (NIV).
He sent you there – for a purpose!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Lord, let the purpose of bringing me to my present
situation come to pass in your own time in Jesus’ name. Amen.
NB
This message was first sent out on May 22, 2005.
 ____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Sun 18 Aug 2013, 10:17 pm

Dearly Beloved,
SAFE IN THE ARMS OF JESUS
“The eternal God is our hiding place; he carries us in his arms”
(Deuteronomy 33:27 CEV).
I am always captivated with hymns composed by Fanny Crosby – one
of the most prolific hymn writers in Christian history. Although the hymn,
“Safe in the Arms of Jesus,” is probably not her most well-known hymn, it is
another inspiring hymn. Fanny Crosby’s personal testimony is not only powerful,
but her writings are a constant reminder to maintain the proper perspective
about life, about grace, about trials and tribulations, and about God.  The story behind this particular hymn is a
rather difficult one.  According to a
source, the thought behind this hymn came to Mrs. Crosby after an awful tragedy
in her life.  She was pregnant, but lost
the baby during childbirth.  She was so
personally devastated by the event that she hardly spoke to anyone about
it.  Years later, a musician, William H.
Doan, stopped by her apartment and wanted her to write words for a tune he just
composed.  Having listened to the tune,
Crosby exclaimed, “That’s ‘Safe in the arms of Jesus!’”  She at once retired to an adjoining room,
where she spent half an hour alone and wrote the words of this hymn. She felt
that it was written for the bereaved, especially mothers that have lost their
children.  
Fanny Crosby felt safe in the arms of Jesus Christ and on His
gentle breast where His love over shaded. So, her soul sweetly rested in the
arms. She felt safe from corroding care, and from the world’s temptations.
Thus, sin cannot harm her there. She was free from the blight of sorrow, and
from her doubts and fears, though there remain only a few more trials and a few
more tears. Jesus was her heart’s dear Refuge because she believed that Jesus
has died for her. Consequently, her trust was ever firm on the Rock of Ages.
Confidently, she could wait here with patience, till the night was over, till she
saw the morning Break on the golden shore. In spite of her life’s travails, she
was indeed safe in the arms of Jesus Christ.
What trying time are you passing through? Are you safe in the
arms of Jesus in your trying times? Will you not throw yourself into those safe
arms and gentle breast of Jesus Christ? Your soul will surely find rest from
all corroding care, the blight of sorrow, doubts and fears of this world if you
do.
Safe in the arms of Jesus!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: I pray that you will be safe in the arms of Jesus
no matter the corroding care, the blight of sorrow, doubts and fears of this
world you may be facing in Jesus’ name. Amen.
 "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. FOR TO ME, TO LIVE IS CHRIST AND TO DIE IS GAIN" (Philippians 1:20-21, NIV)
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Post  Admin on Sun 11 Aug 2013, 5:17 pm

Dearly Beloved,
YOUR SITUATION WILL NOT OVERCOME YOU!

“But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed
you, O Israel: ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by
your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with
you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk
through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God....’” (Isaiah 43:1-3a NKJV).

There have been controversies among Bible scholars about the date and
authorship of the later part of the Book of Isaiah especially Chapters
40-66. However, whether this part was written as a futuristic prophecy or
immediate one, it is a fact that the prophecy is applicable to us today.
Let me focus my devotional message this week on the first verses of Isaiah
43. From history as confirmed by many Bible passages, the people of Judah
were taken to captivity in Babylon. It seemed that all hope was lost for
them. They were indeed depressed and downcast. However, in this hopeless
situation, God reminded them that He was their Creator who have redeemed
them and summoned them by name, therefore, they needed not be afraid. God
promised to be with them in their miserable situation and that the
situation would not overcome them. He reminded them that they were precious
to Him and that He would rescue them out of their disheartened situation
and bring them back to their home land. God did fulfil these promises for
the people of Judah.

The Lord has been faithful in fulfilling these promises for His people,
especially those that diligently put their trust in Him. They may pass
through many waters and rivers of life, but they will not be drowned in
them. They may walk through the fire of life, it will not burn them nor
shall it scorch them. They need not fear all these adversities of life
because the Lord will be with them (compare Psalm 23:4).

What are you passing through now? Do not lose heart! No matter the seeming
hopeless situation, the Lord is with you. The situation will not overcome
you. You will indeed overcome the situation for the Lord is with you.

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: According to Your word, oh Lord, save and deliver me from all
my adversities and do not let my situation overcome me in Jesus Christ’s
name. Amen
_______ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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Post  Admin on Tue 06 Aug 2013, 10:38 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHERE IS YOUR HOUSE?
“Whoever hears these teachings of mine and obeys them is like a
wise man who built his house on rock” (Matthew 7:24 ERV).
In the real life, each one of us has a shelter where we recess
to at the end of the day. The shelter as one of the basic needs of life
protects us from some physical hazards. This house may belong to us permanently
or it may be rented for a period of time. No one would want to have a shelter
that is not safe for habitation, so, we do everything possible to secure the
house. However, the truth of the matter is that every house is prone to one
danger or the other. The location, foundation, and status of the house will
determine how the house will withstand the danger.
Similarly, each one of us has a spiritual cum everlasting
shelter that serves as protection from some spiritual and everlasting hazards.
These hazards are inevitable (see John 16:33), but the location, foundation,
and status of our house will determine how the house will withstand the
spiritual and everlasting hazards.
As Jesus Christ was rounding off His sermon on the mount, He
told a parable of two people - a wise man and a foolish man. Both of them built
houses to shelter them. The houses were confronted with similar hazards. The
house of the wise man could withstand the hazards while the house of the
foolish man could not. The locations and foundations of each house determined
their ends. While the wise man located his house on a solid foundation, the
foolish man located his house on a shaky foundation. The house of the wise man
withstood the test of time while the house of the foolish man could not.
Where is your spiritual cum everlasting house? On what
foundation did you build it? Will it withstand the test of time? In that
parable, the wise man was the person that heard and obeyed the teachings of
Jesus Christ, while the foolish man was the person that heard but did not obey
the teachings of Jesus Christ. Are you a wise man or a foolish man? The hymn
writer, Edward Mote, declared, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’
blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean
on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking
sand, all other ground is sinking sand.”
Where is your house?
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
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Post  Admin on Mon 29 Jul 2013, 1:47 pm

Dearly Beloved,
DON'T GIVE UP!

"God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should
change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not
fulfil?" (Numbers 23:19 NIV).

"You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will
receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, `He who is
coming will come and will not delay'" (Hebrews 10:36-37 NIV).

I was still trying to come out of the trauma of my third consecutive visa
denial by the US embassy in my country when an elderly pastor from UK wrote
an encouraging mail to me. In the mail, he asked me to tell him the area he
could be of help to me in view of the fact that I would not be able to go
to the US as I planned before. I did not hesitate to ask for a new laptop
because the one I was using then is problematic. Responding, the pastor
told me that I should consider the request granted (though he clarified
that the promised laptop would be a fairly used one). He told me that he
would be coming to Nigeria the following month, and that he would come with
the laptop.

That was July 2004. I waited for the laptop throughout the month of August
and I did not hear from the pastor nor see the promised laptop. I wrote an
email to him and he told me that he had actually come to Nigeria but could
not bring the laptop because of some problems he had when he was coming. He
promised to send it through another person that would come in the month of
September. That month also passed without getting the promised laptop. The
pastor asked me to wait till the end of November when many would accompany
the general overseer of his denomination to the UK for a gospel rally.
According to him, he would find somebody out of those people that would
bring the laptop to me in Nigeria. The month of November also came without
the promise fulfilled. When I contacted the pastor again, he told me that
he had found somebody who was ready to bring the laptop but that the person
had gone to the US. According to him, the person would bring the laptop
when he is coming from the US via the UK. The person did not come till the
end of the year.

It was early this year that another person in the UK told me that he would
visit Nigeria in the month of February. When I told him about the promised
laptop, he accepted to contact the elderly pastor and help me bring it. I
linked both of them together and arrangement was made how he would collect
the laptop when he was coming to Nigeria. However the arrangement could not
work out.

I was about to give up on the promised laptop when the elderly pastor wrote
me again that I should not give up on the issue. He informed me that he
would come to Nigeria in the early April and promised to bring the laptop.

He did come to Nigeria and sent a mail to me so that I would give him my
phone number and contact address. I wanted to go and meet him in his place,
but he decided to come to my place. After some unsuccessful attempts to get
me, he eventually handed over the promised laptop to me. That was after
nine months of waiting, writing of mails, phone calls etc.

This is my testimony. I am composing this message with that promised
laptop. I want it to be an encouragement to others that are waiting for
something either from other people or even from God. If a man could fulfil
his promise after nine months in spite of all odds, how much more God will
not fulfil His numerous promises for you? Delay is not denial. The promises
will soon be fulfilled. Just wait patiently.

Don't give up!

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

NB
This message was first sent out on April 24, 2005.
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Post  Admin on Mon 22 Jul 2013, 4:45 pm

Dearly Beloved,
SINCE JESUS CAME INTO MY HEART
“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old
things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NASU).
Honestly, I was not familiar with the hymn, SINCE JESUS CAME
INTO MY HEART, until an elderly pastor sang it as solo in one of the chapel
services of my office. The way the pastor sang it made me have interest in the
hymn and its lyrics. The hymn was written by Rufus Henry McDaniel who was born
in 1850 and started preaching at age nineteen. In 1914, following the untimely
death of his son, Rufus Henry McDaniel penned the words of this hymn as an
expression of his faith and hope. Undoubtedly, the message of the hymn is
captivating. If Jesus indeed has come into one’s heart, there should be obvious
changes. This hymn talks about some of these changes. 
If Jesus has come into one’s heart, a wonderful change will take
place in one’s life; there will be a light in one’s soul for which everyone has
been longing for. Floods of joy will roll over the soul of such person like the
sea billows. Anyone that Jesus comes into his/her heart will cease from his/her
wandering and going astray, and his/her sins which are many will all be washed
away. Such person will possess a hope that is steadfast and sure, and no dark
clouds of doubt will obscure his/her pathway. There will be a light in the
valley of death now for anyone who Jesus comes into his/her heart and he/she
will be able to see the gates of the heavenly City beyond. In fact, he/she
shall go there to dwell in that City at the end of this Age.
“Since Jesus came into my heart....” Can you honestly and
joyfully sing that hymn? Have you experienced that wonderful change that
happens to anyone that Jesus comes into his/her heart? Jesus Christ says,
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the
door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation
3:20 NASU). Will you accept that He come into your heart today? If you have
accepted Him before, how has your own faith in Christ transformed your life?
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Lord Jesus, I sincerely invite you into my heart
today. Come, and let me experience Your wonderful change in my life.
 
____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Sun 14 Jul 2013, 10:25 pm

Dearly Beloved,
DO YOU NEED TO ASK FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT?
“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our
hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.’ So you are no longer a slave,
but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir” (Galatians
4:6-7 NIV).
Recently, one of my online contacts asked me whether one can ask
for the Holy Spirit or not. Let me based my devotional message this week on
this question and the answer I gave the contact. The question about asking for
the Holy Spirit is both theological and semantic. It is theological because it
has to do with the third Person in the Godhead, and it is semantic because it
is somehow a wordplay on when and how the Holy Spirit indwells a believer. Let
me say here that when the Holy Spirit indwells a believer has been a
controversial issue between the Pentecostals and the Evangelicals because of
their different ways of interpreting the Bible. Since I am an Evangelical, I
will first give the Evangelical position and later refer to the Pentecostal
position. The Holy Spirit indwells a believer the moment such person believes
in Jesus Christ and invites Him into his/her life as his/her personal Saviour
and Lord (John 1:12-13; 14:16; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:5-7; Ephesians 1:13)
and He is there forever! However, the Holy Spirit may be “dormant” in the life
of any believer that does not allow Him to operate. That is why Paul urged
against such in Ephesians 4:30 and 1 Thessalonians 5:19. So, it is not out of
place to pray that the Holy Spirit should have full control of one’s life after
one has consciously surrendered oneself to Him.
The Pentecostals on the other hands capitalize on some passages
of the Bible like Luke 11:13; Acts 1:8 and other similar passages (especially
in the Old Testament) to say that one has to ask for the indwelling of the Holy
Spirit. Those passages are interpreted by the Evangelicals in line with what is
called “Dispensational Theology.” How and why will I ask for Who (that is, the
Holy Spirit) God has graciously given me if truly I am a believer in Christ? 
Another mixed-up issue that the Pentecostals make has to do with
the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. These are entirely different
from the Person of the Holy Spirit that is already living eternally with the
believer! A believer can pray for the gifts and/or the manifestations of the
Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:31; 14:1).
Either Evangelical or Pentecostal, the big question is: are you
really a child of God? “[Jesus Christ] came to that which was his own, but his
own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in
his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of
natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband' s will, but born of God”
(John 1:11-13 NIV). Have you received Him into your life? You do not need to
ask for (the indwelling of) the Holy Spirit if you have done so, but you can
ask that He fill you with His power.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray that you make your life conducive for the
indwelling of the Holy Spirit and that you will yield yourself to His
leadership so that He will manifest His power in your life.
 
____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)

-------------------------------
A REPLY
As a Pentecostal minister, I felt a need for an important correction. 

Pentecostals agree with Evangelicals that the Holy Spirit indwells a believer the moment the person believes in Jesus Christ and invites Him into his/her life as his/her personal Saviour and Lord. All Christians are indwelt by the Spirit immediately upon salvation. 

What Pentecostals believe is that there is SECOND experience for the Christian with the Holy Spirit AFTER salvation and the indwelling which is being FILLED with the Holy Spirit to overflowing. Other names for this experience is being baptized (Acts 1:5) (immersed, submerged completely, full competely with the Holy Spirit.) 
Another expression for the same thing is "endued with power from on high"-- Luke 24:49 
We believe this is only for those who are already saved and indwelt by the Spirit. The Spirit has taken up residence in the believer but he wants to fill, anoint, clothe, baptize the believer. 

Jesus told the believers that they should receive this power: 

"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me .... unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:8) 

Notice it doesn't say they will be saved. They already were. It says they will be witnesses. This experience with the Holy Spirit is for power. Power to witness and work for Jesus. 
This promise of Jesus was immediately fulfilled on the day of Pentecost: 

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." (Acts 2:1-4 ) 

It continued to be fulfilled in the Church in Acts in the same way each time a new group of people believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and was baptized in water. 

"Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost." (Acts 8:14-17) 

"While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. (Acts 10:44-46 ) 

"Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (Acts 19:4-6 )
Thanks Brother, just wanted to let you know we agree with you that all Christians are indwelt by the Holy Spirit when they receive Christ, and that we can also ask Him to fill us with His power. 

God's richest blessings on you! 
Larry Clay 
Missionary in Europe
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Post  Admin on Sun 07 Jul 2013, 9:41 pm

Dearly Beloved,
DO NOT REJECT YOUR GOD!

"Because this people has rejected the gently flowing waters of Shiloah...,
therefore the Lord is about to bring against them the mighty floodwaters of
the River...” (Isaiah 8:6-7a NIV).

The kingdoms of Israel and Aram were waging war against the kingdom of
Judah (see Isaiah 7:1). The Lord sent Prophet Isaiah to the people of Judah
to give them the opportunity of trusting in Him for victory. However, the
people of Judah under the leadership of King Ahaz acted foolishly. They
rejected their God and trusted in a seemingly powerful king of Assyria (see
2 Kings 16:7). The Lord prophesied through Isaiah that since they have
rejected their God who is like “the gently flowing waters of Shiloah”, the
“mighty flood of Assyria” that they trusted will indeed overflow their
enemies, but it will also sweep on into Judah and overflow it as well
(Isaiah 8:5-8). It would have been better to trust wholly in God. No
wonder, the psalmist said, “Those who rush to other gods bring many
troubles on themselves” (Psalm 16:4 TEV).

It is unfortunate that many people nowadays are like those foolish Jews.
Like in Paul’s words, they “...claimed to be wise, they became fools and
exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal
man and birds and animals and reptiles” (Romans 1:22-23 NIV). Some of them
even claim that there is no God! Interestingly, these foolish people
indirectly worship what is less than God and they are been tormented by
their self-imposed “gods”. They only will not be ready to openly admit this.

In what ways are you also rejecting your God? Do you acknowledge Him in all
your endeavours? Do you think you can succeed without Him? Do not reject
your God. Trust wholly in Him, and you will testify to His goodness over
your life in Jesus’ name. Amen. Jesus promises, "Come to me, all you who
are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 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
11:28-30 NIV).

In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).

Prayer Point: Pray that you will in no way reject God, but wholly trust in
Him in all your endeavours.
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Post  Admin on Sun 30 Jun 2013, 9:47 pm

Dearly Beloved,
WHO IS YOUR "GOD" ?
"When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down
from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, 'Come, make us gods who
will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we
don't know what has happened to him'" (Exodus 32:1 NIV).
"As for us, the LORD is our God, and we have not forsaken
him" (2 Chronicles 13:10 NIV).
The nation of Israel that Moses led out of bondage in Egypt was
stubborn. Their stubbornness against God's plan started to manifest the day
Pharaoh increased their burden for asking for "a three-day journey into
the desert to offer sacrifices the LORD" (see Exodus 5). However, their
statement in Exodus 32:1 indicates that Moses had become their god. When Moses
stayed with the LORD on their behalf and they did not see him, they wanted
another "god" that would continue to lead them in their journey.
Was Moses really the person that led them out of Egypt or he was
just an instrument in the hands of God, the real Deliverer? Was it necessary
for the people of Israel to see Moses before they could proceed in their
journey to the Promise Land? Should they have any visible "god" that
would lead them to their destination?
Many at times we also think and behave like the Israelites. We
worship a particular person or thing. Knowingly or unknowingly, we idolize such
person or thing. Any attempt to lose the person or thing, we would also lose
hope and try to find alternative in another person or thing.
To some people, pastors and other leaders are "gods."
When the pastors or the leaders are in sight, such people would be active in
the church activities and in their spiritual lives. Reverse would be the case
when the pastor or the leader is not.
Who or what is your "god" ? In who or what do you put
your hope? The writer of the book of Hebrews admonishes, "Let us fix our
eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith?" (12:2 NIV). Fixing
your eyes on any other person or thing will land you in the same syndrome as
the people of Israel. Let the LORD God be your God. Trust only in Him. He will
not let you down.
"Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in
the name of the LORD our God" (Psalm 20:7 NIV).
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
NB
This message was first sent out on February 29, 2004.
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Post  Admin on Mon 24 Jun 2013, 2:35 pm

Dearly Beloved,
MAKING FAILURE YOUR FRIEND
“When these troubles came to him, Manasseh begged for help from
the Lord his God. He humbled himself before the God of his ancestors. Manasseh
prayed to God and begged God to help him. The Lord heard his begging and felt
sorry for him, so the Lord let him return to Jerusalem and to his throne. Then
Manasseh knew that the Lord was the true God” (2 Chronicles 33:12-13 ERV).
Undergoing leadership studies of EQUIP® founded by the renowned
author and speaker, Dr. John C. Maxwell has been fascinating to me. One of the
studies which is seemingly awkward is titled “Failing Forward”.  More awkward is one of its lessons sub-titled
“Make Failure Your Best Friend”. How can one make failure one’s best friend?
The writer of the lesson admitted that the idea may seem odd, but he went
further to explain that “...the truth of the matter is that failure is either
your friend or your enemy, and you are the one who chooses which it is. If you
whine and complain every time you fail, then failure will remain your enemy.
But if you learn from your failures, then you actually benefit from them and
that makes failure your friend.” This can be possible if one is ready to make
one’s failure a stepping stone to one’s future successes. 
Three biblical case studies were used to buttress this point.
One, Jacob, the deceiver who became Israel, a prince with God that God used to
raise a nation separated unto Himself (see Genesis 25-32). Two, Manasseh, a
wicked king in Judah who God taught a lesson in the hard way by making him
become a captive in a foreign land. He learnt from his failure and cried unto
God. God restored him back to his throne (see 2 Chronicles 33:10-20). Three,
the prodigal son in Luke 15 who willfully lost himself. He accepted full
responsibility for his wrong choices and came back the lost joy of his family.
All these people learnt from their failures by admitting their wrong doings and
the end of their stories became desirable.
Twice in Psalm 119, the psalmist endeared himself to failure. Hear
him: “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.... It was
good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees” (Psalms 119:67,
71 NIV). What are your failures or things that are hurting you? Are you trying
to distance yourself from them? Make them your friend and learn from them as
you allow them to be your teacher. They will indeed become your stepping stones
to your breakthrough.
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray for the grace to make failure your friend by
learning from it and making it your stepping stone to your success and
breakthrough in life.
 ____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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Post  Admin on Sun 16 Jun 2013, 10:20 am

Dearly Beloved,

WHAT WILL BE YOUR SCORE SHEET?

“[Jotham] did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father
Uzziah had done” (2 Kings 15:34 NIV).

Recently, the theme of the morning devotional thought in my family was
about following good examples of fathers as it was demonstrated by Uzziah
and Jotham. Both of them were kings in Judah. The former was the father of
the latter. In the early years of Uzziah as king, he did what was right in
the eyes of the Lord, and, undoubtedly, he instructed his children in the
ways of the Lord and laid good examples for them until later in his years
when he was successful and became proud towards God. However, his son
followed his good example.

As I led the devotional thought that morning, I laid emphasis on the fact
that fathers should not only instruct their children to do good things,
that they (the fathers) should be ready to show the example of doing good
things to their children. Since the message that day was directly for me,
the father of the house, I was challenged to allow my children to frankly
tell me the good and bad examples they see in me. It was like giving them
score sheets to evaluate me. Each of the children told me what they
consider as good and bad in my behaviours. I decided not to defend myself
that day for the good and seemingly bad behaviours they pointed out.

As a father or a leader, can you allow your children or subordinates to
openly evaluate you? What will be your score sheet if your children or
subordinates have such opportunity? Fathers have great responsibilities in
showing their children good examples. That is the best legacy they can give
their children. Will your children score you high on this? What will be
your score sheet?

Happy Father’s Day!

In His service,

Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray for fathers that we will lay good examples for our
children to follow.
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Post  Admin on Sun 09 Jun 2013, 10:50 pm

Dearly Beloved,
HONOR GOD WITH YOUR BODY
“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit,
who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were
bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20
NIV).
In 1987, World Health
Organization (WHO) created World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) to be observed every
year on May 31 around the world intended to encourage a 24-hour period of abstinence
from all forms of tobacco consumption across the globe. Furthermore, the day is
intended to draw global attention to the widespread prevalence of tobacco use
and to negative health effects, which currently lead to 5.4 million deaths
worldwide annually. Since 1988, the day has been observed every year with
different themes. The theme for this year was “Ban tobacco advertising,
promotion and sponsorship”.
Recently, I watched a documentary on a national network
television programme on adverse effects of smoking cigarette in particular and
using tobacco in general to human beings. These effects were analyzed in the
documentary, then some people, especially those that have the smoking habit,
were interviewed. One of the people admitted that smoking is not good, and that
he has been trying to stop the habit, but he cannot stop it because he has been
addicted to it. Another person was indifferent to the adverse effects. To him,
something will eventually kill one, so what is the big deal in warning people against
smoking cigarette or using tobacco?
It is interesting that some people even argue that smoking
cigarette or using tobacco is not condemned in the Bible, so, it is never a sin
to smoke cigarette or use tobacco! Well, it is a fact that the Bible does not
expressly condemn smoking cigarette or using tobacco, but it teaches how to
take care of our body which belongs to God. If smoking cigarette and using
tobacco are dangerous to one’s body, why knowing destroying that body that
really belongs to God? If one does not like oneself or cares about what happens
to one’s body, why not honor God who really owns the body?
Honor God with your body!
In His service,
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor).
Prayer Point: Pray for all that have been addicted to smoking
cigarette or using tobacco that they will conscious make efforts to forsake the
habit.

____________ _________ ____
Bayo Afolaranmi (Pastor)
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