I was around 5 when, I am strongly convinced, I first heard the distinct voice of God. But, not until I was 11 (2002) did I have a personal encounter with Him. I was in my room that night, about to pray before bed, when I saw a revelation of how filthy my heart was. I didn't argue with God that I was too young to have such amount of filth ('cause I believed I was a 'good boy,' by human standards, at least). I simply cried uncontrollably in brokenness of heart - "The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God" (Psalm 51:17) - and He didn't.
Still crying uncontrollably, I left my room and went to the living room, where my parents were watching the nightly news on TV. After I managed to tell them about the revelation I saw, my sweet mum took me to her room and led me to Christ. I got saved that night. And 6 years later, I discovered my purpose and assignment on earth, which is raising up men and women to be godly, and teaching them the simplicity of Christianity. More than a decade later, I am still fulfilling that purpose to His glory. Hallelujah!
Negative words Can Be Very Effective (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26)
How Exactly Do Negative Words Work and Why?
We’re still looking at the same story from the previous miracle lesson (#20) and the one before it (#19). In this post, we examine the negativity in Jesus’ words when He said, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again,” Mark 11:14, NIV. In ancient times, many children respected their parents out of fear of being cursed. In those days, people understood the effectiveness of negative words coming from an older person, especially from one’s own parents or someone well-advanced in age. In many parts of Africa, that understanding has not been lost to modernization. Now, let’s examine this from a Scriptural point of view.
The Prayer that Works Come from Strong Faith and a Heart that Forgives (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26)
This is the same passage we read in lesson #19 where we have Jesus speaking to and cursing a fig tree (Mark 11:12-14, 20-26). This seems like a minor miracle, however, it is recorded in the Bible because of the lessons it contains – a prayer that works. After Jesus had cursed the fig tree, they didn’t sit around there waiting to see what would happen; they continued on their journey.
God Expects Us to Bear Fruit — Don’t Be Fruitless! (Mark 11:12-14, 20)
We read in our passage today (Mark 11:12-14, 20) a rather bizarre story but one with a lesson, nonetheless. The lesson is meant to warn us against fruitlessness and challenge us to bear fruit. From the Old Testament laws, the ministry of the prophets, the doctrine of Christ, and the teachings of His Apostles, we can draw one important truth – God does not reward fruitless people; in fact, He curses them in the end. Jesus comes out of Bethany hungry from the long walk. He sees a fig tree green and looking flourishing. He rejoices as He says, “Finally, something to keep this growl in my stomach at bay. I know my disciples must be hungry as well.” He then walks up to the fig tree, probably in the opposite direction to where He initially intended to go. On reaching the fig tree, He discovers that it was a cruel joke, to begin with — this fig tree has beautifully and brightly coloured leaves, but with no fruit hanging from its branches. Annoyed at the deceit plus His wasted time and energy, Jesus curses the fig tree to its root.
Are You Facing Oppositions because of Your Gift? (Matthew 9:32-34)
If you are a church leader reading this, this is for you. If God decides, in His infinite wisdom, to use you as an extension of His arm on earth, to carry out diverse, unusual and strange miracles, then you better get ready for some fierce oppositions. Some people, especially the media, are going to take it upon themselves to dig deep into your background for some accusation to level against you and debunk the proofs of what God is doing through you. Now, if this opposition can only come from unbelievers, that would be easier to bear. However, just like those against Jesus, oppositions can, and will also come from those of the same faith as you. The Pharisees knew the Scripture and the power of God in working miracles and casting out devils. Jesus was not the first to be doing that; they had other people who had been doing that probably even before Jesus (see Matthew 12:27). Yet, the Pharisees still accused Him of fraud and put up several oppositions against Him.
The gifts of healing and performing of miracles, however, are not exclusive to church leaders. Jesus said, “These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed” (Mark 16:17-18, NLT). So be ready against oppositions when God uses you in one of these ways; for, “Students are to be like their teacher, and slaves are to be like their master. And since I, the master of the household, have been called the prince of demons, the members of my household will be called by even worse names!” (Matt. 10:25, NLT)
Do you hear God speaking to you today through this lesson? Please, leave a comment or question; your comment/question might be a blessing to someone.You could also contact us through our contact page.
Can You Flatter God into Healing or Blessing You? (Matthew 9:27-31)
In the passage above (Matthew 9:27-31), we read about two blind men who called Jesus by the name, “Son of David”. Their cry to Him by that name was supposed to reveal the deep extent of their faith in Jesus. Let me explain. The name, “Jesus,” (also Joshua) means “God is Salvation.” It was a common name at that time. However, the name “Christ,” means “Messiah,” or “the Anointed One.” From Old-Testament prophecies, the Messiah must come from the line of the great King David, and so, the Jews all expected the Messiah to be born in a palace, not in a manger. For this reason, they didn’t care about the ancestry of Jesus, since He didn’t meet their first expectation of royal heritage. Most of the Jews then did not believe in Jesus (and most of them still do not believe in Him to this day).
According to the definition from Oxford Languages, a mentor is “an experienced and trusted adviser.” A mentor nurtures and grooms the people under them, offering them ‘personalized services,’ if you will. In Christendom, these services include, but are not limited to, praying for them, explaining some difficult concepts to them, advising them, giving them tasks to complete. Some of these programs are properly structured, others are not. Also, some are more formal than others.
Persistence Eventually Gets God’s Attention. (Matthew 20:30-34; Mark 10:46-52)
We are now at the 16th lesson we can learn from the miracles of Jesus and today, we are looking at the miracle of the restoration of sight to a blind man or two blind men, depending on whose account you read. Also, I am writing this one with one of our authors, Demiana Odinaka. At first, Jesus appeared not to be paying any attention to them, but as they persisted, He budged. In these passages, we see persistence win over the attention of Jesus, stopping Him right in His tracks. Even though the crowd tried to shut them up, the blind men cried out to Jesus even louder. You see, Jesus once taught His disciples to “ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened” (Matthew 7:7-8, NIV). When you have asked (prayed casually), and sought (prayed fervently), and still haven’t received the miracle you seek, maybe it is time you walked up to that door and knocked, maybe even banged on it (fasting and praying).
Welcome Aboard! Put on Your Seat Belt! The Plane’s About to Take Off!
About a week ago, I received a beautiful realization about God that changed my prayer life completely. (Yea, I know I have written a lot about prayer. It seems like every second post is on prayer. Can’t blame me though; I only pen down what I receive.) So, I was having my quiet time with the Lord and studying Paul’s first letter to Timothy when I came across a familiar text that ministered to me a lot different than it used to – 1 Timothy 2:1-2. Then, as I meditated on it, I began to inquire from God about why many people (including me), a lot of the time, find it difficult to maintain a lifestyle or habit of prayer. I mean, why does it look like an impossible feat to sustain a life of ‘continuing’ prayer (see 1 Thessalonians 5:17)? Do I have to go live with the hermits or monks to be able to maintain a constant prayer life? Do I need to turn off my internet connection, stop playing video games or watching movies and be done with all social media and most distractions? (I’ve done all these before at different times – one time for a whole month, another time for a whole year – each time under God’s instruction. I’ll tell you now, it ain’t fun.) As I pondered this question, God spoke to me, just according to His promise in one of my favourite scriptures since childhood:
Everyone needs a best friend. If you don’t agree with me, you probably will by the time you finish reading this post. How would you really describe a best friend? A best friend can take many forms: someone who you can rely on and trust to be present whenever you need them (except they have a very good reason not to be); someone who genuinely cares about you and would defend you always, even when you’re not present. I’m sure there are many other ways you can describe a best friend (and I’d really love to know your thoughts on this in the comment section of this post) but, probably, a few of the best descriptions of a best friend are someone who will not condemn you no matter what, who will not take advantage of you, whose company you enjoy a lot and never get tired of, and one who can assume any role you need them to at any moment. What I mean is that your best friend can assume the role of a friend, father, mother, brother, sister, mentor, etc. A friend can assume the role of an older brother or sister if you don’t have one and just need someone to pamper you but not like a parent or friend. And if you’re like me who does not have a biological younger sibling, a best friend is someone who can play that role when you feel the need to pamper someone. And last but not least, a best friend is someone who can portray the role of a boss. (Yes, sometimes, you definitely need someone who can boss you around in order to compel you to get some work done!😉)
In our 14th miracle lesson, we saw this same story where Jesus had been away on a prayer retreat with Peter, James and John (Matthew 17:1) when a man brought his severely sick child to Jesus’ disciples. They tried all the prayer styles Jesus had taught them and still couldn’t heal the boy. Fortunately, Jesus returned before the man’s debilitated faith died off completely. He proceeds to heal the man’s son with just a command.
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