24. November 2017 · Comments Off on WHEN THE LORD KEEPS TRUSTING YOU WITH TROUBLE · Categories: Jesus Christ, Relationship, Suffering, Trusting God, Worship

Job stood up and tore his robe in grief… FELL TO THE GROUND TO WORSHIP. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God (Job 1:20-22 NLT).

Beloved, yesterday was thanksgiving in American and I had the opportunity to watch a thanksgiving service thst streamed online where a prominent American preacher shared how in this year alone, he had to do a back surgery but before recovering from that, he had to do another surgery because he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and then as if that was not enough, he had to bury his mother who passed away; all in one year and there he was, preaching with all his might about praising and thanking the Lord while going through the storms of life. Yes, he was overwhelmed and sobbed a few times as he preached but he still praised the Lord till it gave the devil a headache because that’s not the response he was expecting.

It made me think of Job. After his first ordeal, we are told in our feature text of how he responded which was remarkable after what he had just experienced. However, you would think that after that, the Lord would be so pleased that he would begin to open doors for him but NO… it was more trouble. Satan went back to ask for permission to bring him more affliction and you won’t believe the Lord’s response… “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot (Job 2:6-7 NLT).

Beloved, I’m sure Job couldn’t believe it. Why? But I’ve been praising and worshiping You and saying and doing all the right things. Where did I go wrong? But he didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, as we know, the Lord had just finished boasting about him to satan… “Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.” (Job 2:3 NLT)

Beloved, the Lord trusted Job enough with trouble. Could this be your case too? Satan would always attack. The Bible says we should… not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12 NIV) because your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith… And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:8-10 NIV).

Stand firm. Know that the Lord trusts you and if He restored Job, He would definitely restore you.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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19. November 2017 · Comments Off on WILL YOU WORSHIP THE LORD FOR NOTHING? · Categories: Jesus Christ, Relationship, Spiritual Growth, Suffering, Worship
… DOES JOB [REVERENTLY] FEAR GOD FOR NOTHING? Have You not put a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have conferred prosperity and happiness upon him in the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face (Job 1:9-11 AMPC).
 
Beloved, the book of Job is one book of the Bible people turn to for hope when facing serious trials. We always look forward with expectation to that joyful day when it says Job was rewarded with a double fold restoration and he lived happily ever after but let’s not be in such a hurry to forget the very thing that was central to Job’s problem; DOES JOB [REVERENTLY] FEAR GOD FOR NOTHING?
 
Like someone said, though this happened very many years ago, it’s still the same card satan uses on God’s children… DO THEY WORSHIP YOU FOR NOTHING? And the truth is that saying ‘yes’ is one thing but living it out is another. In Job’s case, we are not talking about an interval of years or a few months but within a few minutes, it was one calamity after another and he lost everything. Losing material things is one thing but to lose all your children in one day? Hmmm… But how did Job respond? He did not ask if God was real; He did not say God had disappointed him; He did not curse God. Instead… Job stood up and tore his robe in grief. Then he shaved his head and FELL TO THE GROUND TO WORSHIP. He said, “I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:20-21 NLT)
 
Beloved, I’m not sure I’ve met anyone that has suffered to the degree Job suffered and I pray I don’t but I’ll tell you one thing; I have heard a whole load of complaining in my lifetime and I’m not excluded. But let’s have a moment of reflection; How is your attitude towards the Lord today? Are you no longer on fire for Him like you used to be because things are not going your way or maybe it’s because He hasn’t answered you just yet. Just think for a minute; is satan going back to the Lord saying… “Didn’t I tell You that they are only worshiping You for what they can get from You?”
 
Beloved, the Lord trusted Job because He knew Job was not worshiping Him for stuff and I’m sure it made it easier for God to bless him the way He did in his latter days.
 
WILL YOU WORSHIP THE LORD FOR NOTHING? Does God know it?
 
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After going a little farther, He fell to the ground [distressed by the weight of His spiritual burden] and began to pray that if it were possible [in the Father’s will], the hour [of suffering and death for the sins of mankind] might pass from Him. He was saying, “Abba, Father! All things are possible for You; take this cup [of judgment] away from Me; but not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:35-36 AMP)

Beloved, using yesterday’s message as backdrop, I remember when someone was telling me that they were truly tired of praying for a situation they were facing and the question is what do you do when you’ve prayed, you’ve fasted, you’ve done everything you know how to do but the mountain is not moving? Like Jesus said to the Father in our feature text, “all things are possible for You” so, why is this situation not changing?

Yes, all things are possible for the Lord but there are some crosses you may have to carry for a while to achieve a greater purpose. This was exactly what I told this person and someone else confirmed it. Not easy to hear but God surely is working out a greater testimony.

Beloved, when you find yourself in such situations, does that mean God has left you to your own devise? Absolutely not! In the case of Jesus, we read that while He was wrestling with the reality that He had to carry His cross… there appeared to Him an angel from heaven, strengthening Him in spirit (Luke 22:43 AMP). I like the way the Message translation put it… “Father, remove this cup from Me. But please, not what I want. What do you want?” AT ONCE AN ANGEL FROM HEAVEN WAS AT HIS SIDE, STRENGTHENING HIM.

Strength was what was needed. So, as you submit to the will of God; “Father, give me the strength to carry this cross” is the prayer that is needed.

We also see the same sort of thing happening to Apostle Paul. When going through his own trial, he said… Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But He said to me, “MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR YOU, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me (2 Corinthians 12:8-9 NIV).

Beloved, Grace was what was needed. “Father, give me the grace to go through this and come out stronger and wiser” is the prayer that is needed because… 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)

Beloved, this is one of those messages or Scriptures that we don’t like to hear about but unfortunately, we can’t erase it from the Bible, so whatever it is that the Lord may be asking you to endure for a season… let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing (James 1:4 AMP).

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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05. June 2017 · Comments Off on IT’S NOT THE TIME TO GIVE IN · Categories: Jesus Christ, Perseverance, Suffering, Trusting God

What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?]… Yet amid all these things we are more than conquerors and gain a surpassing victory through Him Who loved us (Romans 8:31, 37 AMPC).

Beloved, I remember the time armed robbers attacked our family home in Africa many years ago, and out of fear, my nephew who was only a child at the time ran and hid himself in the kitchen. However, the armed robbers soon made their way into the kitchen but before they could even locate where he was hiding (not that they were even looking for him), fearing that he would be in worse trouble if they found him first, he cried out… “SEE ME HERE”. ‎As if to say, if I surrender myself, my punishment won’t be as bad.

SEE ME HERE…

Unfortunately, that’s the attitude many Christians have adopted. When the enemy comes LIKE a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8), out of fear… we say ‘SEE ME HERE’. However, we forget that the text says ‘like a roaring lion’ and not that he is a ‘roaring lion’. We also tend to forget that we… have overcome… because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4 NKJV).

King David said… He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall remain stable and fixed under the shadow of the Almighty [WHOSE POWER NO FOE CAN WITHSTAND] (Psalm 91:1 AMPC). However, many times, we choose to come out of our hiding place and say “SEE ME HERE”.

The word of God tells us… No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it (1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV).

The Lord would always make a way out of every temptation but we are too quick to give in and say “SEE ME HERE”. As a result, we are quick to give in to temptation… sin… frustration… fear and every weak emotion you can think of.

Beloved, this is not the time to give in. Rather, you are to… be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil (Ephesians 6:10-11 NLT).

You may be in a battle right now but remember that you are fighting from a place of victory. The battle has already been won. This current fight is a fight for your faith so don’t you dare give in. Remain under the shelter of the Lord Almighty… then after the battle you will still be standing firm (Ephesians 6:13 NLT).

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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29. May 2017 · Comments Off on EMBRACING GOD’S WISDOM‏‏ · Categories: Glory, God's Plan, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Suffering, Wisdom

No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—His plan that was previously hidden, even though He made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord (1 Corinthians 2:7-8 NLT).

Beloved, have you ever questioned God’s wisdom? Perhaps, you are going through something devastating right now and you just can’t understand what God is up to? Well, He is always up to something even when we can’t understand it.

Referring to the conversation Jesus had with the disciples on the road to Emmaus‎ (Luke 24:13-35), I read a book (Healing the Eight Stages of Life) where the writers said “the despairing disciples began by talking about the tragic death of their friend whom they had counted on to be the Messiah. The disciple’s attitude was “don’t talk to us about God’s wisdom. We haven’t seen much of it in the death of our friend. JESUS SIMPLY SHARED FROM THE SCRIPTURE AND SHOWED HOW EVEN THE EXPERIENCE OF THEIR FRIEND’S DEATH WAS TO BE LIFE-GIVING, PART OF THE WISE PLAN THAT GOD HAD FOR THEIR LIVES””.

It took Jesus to make sense of it and I for one know that it would be so great to just sit down and hear the Lord make sense of our experiences. Something along the lines of… “this is why that happened and this is why this had to happened… and more importantly, where do we go from here?” This is exactly what Jesus did to these disciplines. He opened the Scriptures and started explaining to them that His death was a part of God’s plan all along and they must have been like “I get it now. Lord, You are indeed the wise master planner. You had it all planned out all along and even when the enemy thought he was winning, our feature text tells us that he soon realised that he got played big time.

‎Beloved, we have got to get to the point where we move from despair to embracing God’s wisdom. Joseph told his brothers… you intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people (Genesis 50:20 NLT). When Joseph was going through his ordeal, he had no idea that things would turn out the way they did in the end but he finally got to that place where he embraced God’s wisdom. You too need to do the same even when it doesn’t make sense.

According to one of my bible notes; “One can agree with all the truths in the Bible and still miss the power of God… [which]… cannot be fully grasped by our eight-pound brains. We must approach God humbly as creations, not as those aspiring to fully explain the Creator of the universe.

Beloved, it’s time to… trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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17. May 2017 · Comments Off on ON YOUR WAY TO BECOMING THAT PERSON THE LORD HAS CALLED YOU TO BE · Categories: Change, Discipline, God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Restoration, Spiritual Growth, Suffering

And He said to them, “Follow Me [as My disciples, accepting Me as your Master and Teacher and walking the same path of life that I walk], and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19 AMP)

Beloved, our feature text refers to the time Jesus was calling His first disciples to come follow Him and I’ve been reflecting on Peter whom He called and instantly changed His name from Simon to Peter. We are told that… Andrew brought Simon to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas (which is translated Peter).” (John 1:42 AMP)

Jesus changed Simons name to Peter, however, towards the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, we hear Him refer to Peter as Simon. Jesus said… “SIMON, SIMON, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, SIMON, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, STRENGTHEN YOUR BROTHERS.” (Luke 22:31-32 NLT)

Okay! I bet Peter must have been confused. “Am I Peter or am I Simon?” Like I said, When Jesus first called Simon, He changed his name to Peter which means ‘ROCK’. But here, Jesus calls him ‘SIMON’ as if to say… “I’m not referring to Peter the ‘ROCK’. I’m referring to the weak side of you. On your way to becoming Peter, satan would attack SIMON. He would try everything to stop SIMON from becoming Peter.

The Amplified Bible says… Satan has asked excessively that [all of] you be given up to him [out of the power and keeping of God]…

The question here is why would satan be so desperate if he’s not afraid of the effect you would have against his kingdom?

The interesting thing is that Jesus didn’t plan to stop satan. Rather, He said; “that’s ok! I’m behind you praying for you… I can stop satan if I want to but you need the experience so that you can… STRENGTHEN YOUR BROTHERS”.

This should be the end result of every trial… You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, THE SAVING OF MANY LIVES (Genesis 50:20 NIV).

Beloved, unfortunately, many of us are ignorant of the fact that satan had and still has plans to sift us like wheat but every trial that comes your way is meant to grow you for your purpose. If you are reading this today, please understand that you have a purpose the Lord is preparing you for. When Jesus called Peter, He said… “Follow Me, and I will MAKE YOU fishers of men”. What Jesus did not mention here was how He planned to MAKE Peter ‘a fisher of men’.

Beloved, please know that that situation which you’re thinking is the breaking of you is actually the MAKING of you. Jesus is praying for you and so am I.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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10. April 2017 · Comments Off on WHEN THE LORD PUTS YOU ON A ROLLER COASTER JOURNEY · Categories: God's Plan, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Restoration, Suffering

The steps of a [good] man are directed and established by the Lord when He delights in his way [and He busies Himself with his every step] (Psalm 37:23 AMPC).

Beloved, you know the story of the shunammite woman who was rewarded for looking after God’s servant. She told her husband… let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us” (2 Kings 4:10 NIV). As a reward, the Lord blessed her with a child.

Isn’t it just nice when God rewards you for your faithful service? However, she soon finds herself on this roller coaster journey. No doubt, she must have felt really blessed when she had a son but then, the child dies. OK… I didn’t see this coming but I can handle it. Elisha, fix this. And he did. Thank God.

So, she must have thought it was all over until she later found that due to a famine, she had to leave her nice home. To make it worse, Elisha was the one that came to break the news and I’m sure by this time, she was thinking “what kind of trouble have I brought upon myself? All because I opened my home to you. I was content with my life when you came to tell me that God will give me a son. Then the son died. Then you raised him up. Now, it’s famine. So, I now have to leave my home for 7 years. What’s my crime, Elisha? Was it a bad thing that I opened my home to you?”

Beloved, has God ever put you on a roller coaster journey while you are doing all you can to be faithful to Him? Well, know that God never forsakes the righteous. He took this woman full circle and at the end of her 7 years of sojourning in a foreign land, she comes back to appeal to the king for her possession. But what she didn’t know was that conversations were already taking place behind her back.

The king wanted to know more about this popular Elisha so… Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land. “Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that EVERYTHING SHE HAD LOST WAS RESTORED TO HER, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence. (2 Kings 8:5-6 NLT). Hmmm… nothing was lost.

Beloved, does it feel like you’re on a roller-coaster journey? Please know that the Lord is in control. He busies Himself with your every step. Conversations are going on on your behalf and in due season, you would see that it was worth the ride.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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17. March 2017 · Comments Off on YOU CAN MAKE IT THROUGH YOUR GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Spiritual Growth, Suffering, Trusting God

…keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne (Hebrews 12:2 NLT).

Beloved, the garden of Gethsemane was a place where for the first time we see Jesus who never struggled to cast out demons, heal the sick, preach great sermons and walk on water in great agony. It was a place where for the first time, we actually see His vulnerability. He was so deeply distressed and troubled that He had to share His feeling with His inner circle of friends who looked up to Him as their source of strength. He said to them…“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death (Mark 14:34).

The name Gethsemane originates from a Hebrew term meaning ‘oil press’. This is a place where olives are gathered together into rough sacks and heaped on top of each other. A beam is then lowered on top of the stacks with increasing weights added for more pressure to press out all the oil from the olives. This is how olive oil is made and spiritually it was used in the Bible to anoint people. E.g. Aaron as priest (Lev 8:12) and Saul (1 Sam 10:1) and David (2 Sam 2:4) as kings.

Spiritually, Gethsemane represents a place of great spiritual suffering. It’s a place where you are in it on your own and all the people you thought you could rely on desert you. It’s a place where Jesus poured out His heart to his disciples and then went to pray but returned to find them sleeping…“Simon,” He said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? (Mark 14:37). At least they were still there. Wait until the real trouble comes and then watch them really desert you and flee (Mark 14:37).

It’s a place where you know who your Judas is – your close friends and even family betray you (Mark 14:44-45).

It’s a place where you struggle with your will which must give into the will of God. You pray the same prayer over and over again hoping that whatever you are going through is taken away from you but there is complete silence from God. You try to appeal to Him with all the right words hoping He would change His mind…“Abba, Father,” He said, “EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR YOU. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)

Beloved, ever made this kind prayer? I can just imagine God saying…Son, I know that EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE FOR ME but this is a cup that you must drink. There’s isn’t a way out.

It’s a place where you are crushed to bring out what the Lord has deposited in you…the anointing to function in His will and purpose for your life.

Beloved, if this is where you are right now, know that it isn’t forever. There’s great joy ahead and I pray for the strength you need to pull through (Luke 22:43).

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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14. March 2017 · Comments Off on THE PRICELESS VALUE OF KNOWING CHRIST · Categories: God's Plan, Holy Spirit, Identity, Jesus Christ, Power and Authority, Relationship, Revelation, Spiritual Growth, Suffering

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised Him from the dead. I want to suffer with Him, sharing in His death, SO THAT ONE WAY OR ANOTHER I WILL EXPERIENCE THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD! (Philippians 3:10-11 NLT)

Beloved, in our feature text, you almost get the sense that Apostle Paul is speaking as if there’s a danger of missing and coming short of knowing Christ and so was desperate to do whatever he needed to do. This was not because he thought he could do anything to gain his salvation. NO! This was a holy and reverential fear of shortcomings and probably the reason he urges us to… continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

Apostle Paul knew that there was some pressing forward to do. He needed to keep pressing on and needed whatever help he could get from our High Priest who had been there, done it, got the victory and has made help available for our own journey (Hebrews 4:15-16).

The reason Apostle Paul makes this statement in Philippians 3:10-11 is to know Jesus in a way that transformed him both spiritually and morally. He knew this could not be done in his on strength so was willing to do and suffer anything to gain access and experience the mighty power that raised Jesus from the dead. That same power dwells in us and is working in us to change us (Romans 8:11).

Beloved, Jesus Christ has made available for us the power we need to change into His image and likeness and personally, I don’t want to dance around that power but tap into it and see it working in my life – I want to know and experience all of Jesus and I’m not deceived. It may take some tears, some suffering, letting go of things and dying daily to self.

Apostle Paul went on to say… Finally my dear brothers and sisters… Not that I have already attained this—that is, I have not already been perfected—but I strive to lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus also laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:12-14 NET).

Beloved, we would not reach complete perfection until when Christ returns to take us into His eternal kingdom but it is my earnest prayer that we ask for the strength and grace to press on and strive towards the price. I pray that God opens our eyes to understand what we need to do to know Him more… the strength to surrender to His will in our garden of Gethsemane, carry our cross and to allow what needs to die in us die so that we can live for Him.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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19. February 2017 · Comments Off on YOU HAVE NOT BEEN FORSAKEN · Categories: God's Plan, Jesus Christ, Rejection, Suffering, Trusting God

Now from the sixth hour (noon) there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour (three o’clock). And about the ninth hour (three o’clock) Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?—that is, My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me [leaving Me [helpless, forsaking and failing Me in My need]? (Matthew 27:45-46 AMPC)

Beloved, is this how you feel? Well, you won’t be the first? I always say if Jesus who knew the beginning from the end could crack under such pressure, then who am I? But that is why… we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet He did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15-15 NIV). Carrying the heavy burden of our sins on His shoulders and with the intense pain that He was feeling, it became too much for Jesus and with no help in sight, He cried out in despair…My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me.

However, the good news is that we know for a fact that God had not abandoned Him and neither has He abandoned or forsaken you but whats interesting here is that there are things that we may just have to go through to prove to the doubters that… “surely He was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54 NIV)

I love the verse that says …DAVID ENCOURAGED HIMSELF IN THE LORD HIS GOD (1 Samuel 30:6 KJV). When it seems like there is darkness everywhere and His face cannot be found, this is what king David would have to say… Yes, though I walk through the [deep, sunless] valley of the shadow of death, I will fear or dread no evil, for You are with me; Your rod [to protect] and Your staff [to guide], they comfort me (Psalm 23:4 AMP).

Beloved, please know today that… The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18 NIV). He has not forsaken you so… Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God (Psalm 42:11 NIV). Go on… ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD YOUR GOD.

On this worship sunday, spend the whole of today and the new week praising and worshiping the Lord and watch how your spirit lifts up… watch the darkness give way to light.

God bless you in Jesus Christ name
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