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CORNERSTONE OR ROCK OF OFFENCE

"Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against.” (Luke 2:34 NKJV)

When Jesus was brought into the temple as a baby to be dedicated to God according to the Law of Moses, the Holy Spirit came upon Simeon, a just and devout man, who had been waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and who God had promised that he would not see death until he had seen the Messiah.

Then, Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and blessed God and prophesied thus:

Luke 2:
29 "Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word;
30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation
31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel."
33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him.
34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, "Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against
35 "(yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." (NKJV).

Simeon’s prophecy wholly conformed to other prophecies in the Scripture about Jesus Christ not just being a chief cornerstone, but also a rock of offense or a stumbling stone.

Isaiah 8:
14 He will be as a sanctuary, But a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense To both the houses of Israel, As a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble; They shall fall and be broken, Be snared and taken."
16 Bind up the testimony, Seal the law among my disciples. (NKJV).

Isaiah 28:
16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, A tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; Whoever believes will not act hastily. (NKJV).

Like a coin with two sides, the Scripture clearly presents Jesus Christ as a sure and solid foundation for having and building a loving and intimate relationship and walk with God to all those who believe in Him and surrender to His Lordship. This relationship will culminate in eternity of perfect peace and joy with God in heaven.

On the other hand, the Scripture also clearly presents Jesus Christ as a rock of offense or stumbling stone to all those who reject His Lordship which will cause their stumbling or fall into eternity of sorrows, pains and regrets in hell fire.

Apostle Peter testifies to this truth.

1 Peter 2:
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,"
8 and "A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. (NKJV).

While many believers in the world today are enjoying an intimate, loving and eternal relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus, yet many people in the world today are upset or offended by the message of the cross, the gospel of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is a man’s response to the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ that determines whether Jesus will be a cornerstone or a rock of offense to him.

When a man receives, believes and embraces the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ, he will have Jesus Christ as a cornerstone and will not be put to shame in this life and in eternity (1 Pet. 2:6).

However, anyone who continually rejects the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ and refuses to trust completely in the finished work of Jesus, but seeks to have or build a close and loving relationship with God on his self-righteousness, good works, or performance will have Jesus as a stumbling stone and a rock of offense, and eventually fall and perish (1 Pet. 2:8).

The Lord Jesus became a stumbling stone and a rock of offense to the Jewish nation as a whole because they rejected Jesus as their Messiah and King.

1 Corinthians 1:
21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom;
23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (NKJV).

At His first coming into the world the Lord Jesus manifested as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV).

As the Lamb of God, the Scripture bears witness that "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth.” (Isa. 53:7 NKJV).

But at His second coming, the Lord Jesus will manifest as the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. In righteousness He will judge and make war. His eyes will be like a flame of fire and out of His mouth will go a sharp sword that will strike all the nations which rejected Him, and they will bow before Him, and He will rule them with a rod of iron (Rev. 19:11-16).

Beloved, if you despise and reject the Lord Jesus today as the Lamb of God – God’s perfect atoning sacrifice for your sins – you will face and receive His fierce wrath and judgement at His second return as the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

Rejecting Jesus Christ today as your Saviour is meeting Him at the end of the dispensation of grace as your Judge (John 5:22). If you continue to reject Jesus Christ as a sure and precious foundation unto eternal life, you will later have Jesus Christ as a stumbling stone unto eternal damnation.

Rejecting Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord is simply rejecting life and embracing death; it is rejecting God’s mercy and embracing God’s judgement; it is rejecting eternal salvation and embracing eternal destruction (Luke 20:18).

John sternly warns:

John 3:
18 He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NKJV).

Friend, it is only in this life that you have the opportunity to choose who Jesus Christ would be to you. After this life, you don’t have such an opportunity again. All that is left is for you is to face, receive and embrace the outcome or consequence of your choice.

Choose wisely today by choosing to believe, receive and embrace the gospel of the grace of Jesus Christ. If you believe, receive and confess Jesus Christ today as your Saviour and surrender to Him as your Lord, you will reign with Him in this life and in eternity (Rom. 5:17).

Prayer: My Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I choose You today as my Saviour and surrender to You as my Lord. I embrace and proclaim You as my precious stone and a sure foundation unto eternal life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
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WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO?

“Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Proverbs 4:23 DBY)

Joash was hidden in the house of the LORD for six years from the face of Athaliah so that he would not be destroyed with other royal heirs. But when Joash was seven years old, Jehoiada the priest brought him out, put the crown on him, gave him the Testimony and anointed him as the King of Judah in the place of Athaliah.

Afterwards, Jehoiada commanded that Athaliah, the wicked usurper, be killed by the guards. Jehoiada also made a covenant between himself, the people and the king that they should be God’s people (2 Kings 11:1-21).

King Joash, though very young, naïve and inexperienced, yet he did what was right in the sight of God all the days of Jehoiada the priest who counselled, instructed, taught, and guided him in the way of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 24:
1 Joash was seven years old when he became king, and he reigned forty years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Zibiah of Beersheba.
2 Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest.
3 And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he had sons and daughters.
4 Now it happened after this that Joash set his heart on repairing the house of the LORD.
(NKJV).

Unfortunately today, many of our political leaders don’t have men like Jehoiada as their counselors or advisers to guide and influence them to do what is right in God’s sight.

The Scripture testifies that all the days of Jehoiada the priest King Joash listened to him and thus walked in the ways of the LORD and did mighty exploits.

Joash mobilized all the priests and the Levites and all the people of Judah to repair the house of the LORD. At the king’s command, they made a chest and set it outside at the gate of the house of the LORD, and all the people gave willingly and generously towards the repair of the house of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 24:
10 Then all the leaders and all the people rejoiced, brought their contributions, and put them into the chest until all had given.
11 So it was, at that time, when the chest was brought to the king's official by the hand of the Levites, and when they saw that there was much money, that the king's scribe and the high priest's officer came and emptied the chest, and took it and returned it to its place. Thus they did day by day, and gathered money in abundance.
12 The king and Jehoiada gave it to those who did the work of the service of the house of the LORD; and they hired masons and carpenters to repair the house of the LORD, and also those who worked in iron and bronze to restore the house of the LORD.
13 So the workmen labored, and the work was completed by them; they restored the house of God to its original condition and reinforced it. (NKJV).

However, immediately after the death of Jehoiada, the leaders or princes of Judah came to King Joash to coax and lure him into idolatry, and sadly, he listened to them.

2 Chronicles 24:
17 Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them.
18 Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass.
19 Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the LORD; and they testified against them, but they would not listen. (NKJV).

Even when God sent Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest to Joash and the people of Judah, they conspired against him and stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD, at the command of King Joash.

2 Chronicles 24:
20 Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, "Thus says God: 'Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.'"
21 So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD.
22 Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, "The LORD look on it, and repay!" (NKJV).

While Joash was listening to Jehoiada the priest, he was walking in the ways of the LORD. On the contrary, when Joash began to listen to the evil and idolatrous princes of Judah, he became evil and idolatrous like them.

The truth is this; who you constantly, continuously, or consistently listen to will eventually mould, determine, control, influence and shape your motives, thoughts, actions, values, perceptions, passions, and pursuits in life.

Whoever you give your attention to in life will ultimately give direction to your life!

This is why the Scripture warns and admonishes to choose our friends carefully.

Proverbs 12:
26 The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray. (NKJV).

1 Corinthians 15:
33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
34 Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame. (NKJV).

Many gullible believers today, like Josiah, have been swayed and led astray into doctrines of men and demons, vain worship of saints, spirits or angels, apostasy, heresies, and empty philosophies and traditions of men by listening to false teachers and prophets, carnal and ungodly counselors and philosophers.

Beloved, it is very dangerous to incline your ears and open your heart to any word, teaching, doctrine, advice or counsel that does not conform wholly to the word, teaching or doctrine of Jesus Christ and His early apostles in the New Testament.

King Joash, who once mobilized the people of Judah to repair and restore the house of God to its original condition, forsook the same house of God to serve wooden images and idols when he inclined his ears to listen to ungodly men.

Although Joash started well with God, his end was terrible. He was severely wounded in the battle and his servants conspired against him and killed him on his bed, and he was not buried in the tombs of the kings (2 Chro. 24:25).

What a sad ending to a good starting!

We are now in perilous times when seducing spirits are actively at work in the lives and ministries of many “servants of God”, thereby influencing them to propagate and broadcast false doctrines and destructive heresies (1 Tim. 4:1-3).

Many carnal ministers of God today are "teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain." (Tit 1:11 NKJV).

Therefore, you must be careful who you listen to!

You will do well to heed John’s admonition.

2 John 1:
9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.
10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him;
11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds. (NKJV).

Friend, you need to guard your heart by minding who and what you are listening to lest you end up like Joash, departing from the right path, becoming corrupt, and not finishing well the Christian race.

Choose carefully the books you read, the music and messages you listen to, and even the preacher, teacher, instructor, counsellor or adviser you listen to.

The Bible admonishes you to “Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life.” (Prov. 4:23 DBY).

Prayer: My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to constantly, continuously and consistently incline my ears and open my heart only to wholesome words, doctrine or teaching of Christ, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
Tune in to our 24/7 Online Revival Today Radio @ http://heralds-of-revival.radiojar.com/
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GOD IN THE BURNING BUSH

“And the Angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed.” (Exodus 3:2 NKJV)

While the children of Israel were groaning and crying under the heavy yoke of Pharaoh the King of Egypt, Moses whom God had ordained for their deliverance was far away in Midian tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian.

Although Moses was raised in Pharaoh’s palace as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, yet when he became of age, he “refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin.” (Heb. 11:24-25 NKJV).

Having killed an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his brethren, Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh who sought to kill him (Exo. 2:11-12).

Moses undoubtedly had a fervent passion to see his brethren delivered from the oppression of Pharaoh, but he had no divine vision or understanding of how God would use him for their deliverance from the house of bondage, Egypt.

While in Midian, Moses had completely lost his passion for the deliverance of the Hebrews in Egypt, or any sense of God’s purpose for his life. He had obviously settled down in Midian as the shepherd of the flock of Jethro.

But one remarkable day, while Moses led the flock to the back of the desert and came to Horeb, the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of a bush. Moses could not resist turning aside from the flock to see the great sight – why the bush was burning with fire and yet the bush was not consumed.

When God saw that Moses had turned aside from the flock to look at this great sight (the bush burning, yet not consumed), God called to Moses from the midst of the burning bush and commissioned him to return to Egypt to bring the children of Israel out the bondage of Pharaoh. That was the day Moses began to understand and fulfil his divine purpose in life!

From the midst of the burning bush, God called to Moses, saying, "Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel has come to Me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. "Come now, therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring My people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt." (Exo. 3:9-10 NKJV).

Does God still speak to us from the midst of “the burning bush?”
Yes, God still does!

God still uses “the burning bush” today to draw our attention to His unique plans and purposes for our lives, to open our eyes of understanding, and to rekindle our dwindling passion for His plans and purposes for our lives.

Many believers today, like Moses, have given up in despair after one or two futile attempts or efforts to step out and fulfil their God-given vision, mission or calling, which may be as a result of setting out at a wrong time, or being overly zealous without adequate knowledge of the calling or mission, or as a result of lack of divine wisdom on how to go about it.

Many servants of God today, like Moses, have fled from their duty posts, mission fields or places of divine assignment because of fear, failure, frustration, defeat, discouragement, or disappointment.

Many believers ordained or appointed by God for the deliverance of their families or communities are presently somewhere far away from their mission fields and places of divine assignment, completely engrossed or immersed in mundane affairs.

It will undoubtedly take "a burning bush experience" for such people to wake up out of their slumber, and like Moses, turn aside from all distractions to step into their God-ordained purpose or destiny in life.

Sadly, God is calling out to and speaking to many believers today from the midst of the burning bush, yet they are not paying any close attention.

Apparently, God’s purpose for setting the bush (which Moses needs and depends upon to feed his flock) on fire was not to consume the bush but to catch Moses’ attention and rekindle his passion for his primary purpose or calling in life.

Similarly, when God sets your “bush” (your object of focus, devotion, or affection) on fire, He is simply seeking to draw your attention to what really matters most in life – God’s purpose for your life.

Most times, the trials, challenges or crises we face in life are just God setting “our bush on fire” to get our attention and to give us new direction in life.

But unfortunately, rather than turning aside from all distractions to draw closer to God like Moses did so that we may clearly see His vision and hear His voice, we often seek for someone to blame or fight for our situation, or seek for quick fixes.

Beloved, carefully examine your life today.
Is there any “bush” you hold dear to you strangely burning now?

That may be God calling to you as He called to Moses from the burning bush!

Don’t ignore God’s voice and continue to pursue your selfish ambitions, dreams, desires, or goals in life. God has a great and unique plan and purpose for your life that will impact or affect many lives, destinies and generations.

When God set Moses’ bush on fire, Moses said, "I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush does not burn." (Exodus 3:3 NKJV).

This is what God expects of you today when He sets your bush on fire!

Friend, why not turn aside today to see and hear what God has to show or say to you from the mist of “your burning bush?”

Your obedience may eventually result in the deliverance of many souls, families, communities, or nations!

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, grant me the spiritual discernment to see and to know when You are setting my bush on fire in order to get my attention and to give me a new direction in life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
Subscribe, Download & Listen to our Revival Today Audio Podcast from iTunes Store @ https://itunes.apple.com/tt/podcast/revival-today-audio-podcast/id1044519005
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YOU HAVE THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20 KJV)

God abhors and forbids us to use different measures or standards in our dealings with people. God strictly commanded the children of Israel to have and use perfect and just measure in all their transactions.

Deuteronomy 25:
14 You shall not have in your house differing measures, a large and a small.
15 You shall have a perfect and just weight, a perfect and just measure, that your days may be lengthened in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. (NKJV).

Proverbs 20:
10 Diverse weights and diverse measures, they are both alike, an abomination to the LORD. (NKJV).

The Scripture warns against partiality.

James 2:
1 My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality.
2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in filthy clothes,
3 and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, "You sit here in a good place," and say to the poor man, "You stand there," or, "Sit here at my footstool,"
4 have you not shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
(NKJV).

If God forbids partiality and abhors the use of different standards or measures in our dealings with others, we can be sure that there is no partiality with God and that God will never use different standards or measures in His dealings with us.

It is our religious mindset that makes us think that God loves, favours, or blesses some believers more or less than others in Christ.

Paul clearly states that there is no partiality with God.

Romans 2:
11 For there is no partiality with God.
12 For as many as have sinned without law will also perish without law, and as many as have sinned in the law will be judged by the law. (NKJV).

The Scripture clearly reveals that God has dealt or given to every believer the same amount or measure of faith.

Apostle Paul testifies to this truth in his epistle to the Romans.

Romans 12:
3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Rom. 12:3 KJV).

Apostle Paul is simply saying in this scripture that God does not use different measures in allotting faith to us. God does not give one believer a small faith and then give a great faith to another.

God gives the same measure or equal amount of faith to every believer at the New Birth. The differences in the level of faith we may observe among the believers are simply based on usage or exercise of the measure of faith that God has given.

This is a pivotal truth!

The early apostles of Christ who walked steadily in the supernatural power of God and did great exploits for Christ did not receive from God a greater measure of faith than any believer today.

Apostle Peter testified to this great truth in His epistle.

2 Peter 1:
1 Simon Peter, a bondservant and Apostle of Jesus Christ: To those to whom there has been allotted the same precious faith as that which is ours through the righteousness of our God and of our Saviour Jesus Christ. (WNT).

What is Peter saying in this scripture?

Peter is simply saying that God gives the same measure of precious faith to all Christians as a gift!

The faith in you is the same faith that made Peter walked on the water before doubting. It is the same faith that made the shadow of Peter to heal the sick. It is the same faith that made Peter to raise the dead. Your faith is not inferior or smaller in comparison to that of Peter or any of the early apostles of Christ.

Salvation is purely a gift of God!

Ephesians 2:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV).

Before salvation, you were so bankrupt spiritually that you did not even have the faith to receive the gift of everlasting life that the grace of God offered to you. You were completely bound by your physical senses (what you can see, hear, touch, taste or smell).

How then did you get the faith to receive the gift of salvation?
God imparted to you His faith!

How did God impart to you His faith?
Through the gospel message about Christ that you heard!

Romans 10:
17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ. (HCSB).

Romans 10:
17 So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ. (RSV).

Romans 10:
17 So faith comes from a message heard, and the message comes from the teaching of Christ.
(MNT).

All that you did to be saved was simply to acknowledge your sinfulness, wretchedness and bankruptcy, and exercise the faith of God imparted to you through the gospel of the grace of God you heard to receive the gift of salvation that God’s grace has provided for you through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Our human faith, which is based on our physical senses, cannot receive the salvation that grace has provided for us.

Have you ever wondered how you could believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that you could be saved by grace alone and through faith in Christ alone?

Have you ever thought of how you could surrender your life to the Lordship of Jesus who you have never seen physically?

It was simply because the supernatural faith of God was imparted to you through the gospel of Jesus Christ that was preached to you!

The truth is this; you still have in your spirit the same kind and measure of faith that God imparted to you at the New Birth which enabled you to receive the gift of salvation.

Paul refers to this faith as “the faith of the Son of God” in Gal. 2:20.

Galatians 2:
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (KJV).

Every born-again Christian has the same measure of the faith of the Son of God in them!

If it is true that all the believers have received the same measure of the faith of the Son of God at salvation, how come we read in the Scripture about some people having a great faith (Matt. 8:10) and some people having a little faith (Matt. 8:26)?

It is simply based on their usage or exercise of the faith they have received!

Faith is just like your muscles; the more you use or exercise your muscles, the stronger and bigger they become. However, you cannot increase or multiply your muscles.

Some believers are manifesting great faith because they are constantly using or exercising the measure of faith they have received from God at the New Birth. If you fail to use or exercise the measure of faith God gave you at the New Birth, your faith will not become stronger.

Beloved, God has imparted to you His own faith by which He calls those things which do not exist as though they did. The faith of the Son of God is always present in your born-again spirit. The faith in you is not smaller or inferior to that which the Lord Jesus had while He was on earth.

This is why Jesus said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12 NKJV).

You, like Paul, can also live a triumphant, overcoming, righteous, prosperous, and fulfilled life in this present evil world by the faith of the Son of God.

Therefore, quit begging God to give you more faith, but rather, arise today and begin to use or exercise the supernatural faith you have received from God and you will be amazed at the supernatural exploits it will produce.

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for imparting to me Your supernatural faith at the New Birth. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me to live by this faith of the Son of God that is ever present in my born-again spirit every day of my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
Tune in to our 24/7 Online Revival Today Radio @ http://heralds-of-revival.radiojar.com/
Subscribe, Download & Listen to our Revival Today Audio Podcast from iTunes Store @ https://itunes.apple.com/tt/podcast/revival-today-audio-podcast/id1044519005
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DIVINE EXCHANGE

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV)

Christianity is all about divine exchange. This divine exchange took place at the cross of Jesus when God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV).

On the cross the Lord Jesus took and bore all our sins, our curses, our sicknesses, our sorrows, and pains, and in exchange gave us His righteousness, His blessings, His health, His joy and peace.

What a divine exchange!

A call to be a Christian is basically a call to receive the righteousness of Christ in exchange for your sinfulness. It is a call to receive the inexhaustible riches of Christ in exchange for your abject poverty.

It is also a call to receive the power of Christ in exchange for your weakness, and to receive the wisdom of Christ in exchange for your foolishness, and to receive the joy of Christ in exchange for your sorrow.

In a word, Christianity is simply a life of divine exchange!

While God has perfectly accomplished the process of divine exchange on the cross when He made Christ to be sin for all men, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Christ; however, the personal experience of this divine exchange only starts in your life at the New Birth, when you put your faith in God’s substitute for you on the cross, Christ Jesus, and confess Him as your personal Lord and Saviour.

Although your personal experience of the process of divine exchange started when you became born-again through faith in Christ Jesus, yet it will continue throughout your lifetime until when you see the Lord Jesus as He is, when He physically returns to receive you to Himself.

The believer’s experience of the process of divine exchange will culminate in Christlikeness - total conformity or resemblance to Christ – in spirit, soul and body.

1 John 3:
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NKJV).

Colossians 3:
1 If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.
2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. (NKJV).

At the instant of spiritual regeneration or the new birth, you received a new spirit which is perfectly like that of Christ in a divine exchange for his old spirit which was dead in sins (Eph. 2:1, 2 Cor. 5:17, Gal. 4:6, Rom. 8:9).

However, you are yet to receive a new soul (will, mind and emotions) and body that are perfectly like that of Christ.

The Scripture teaches that the born-again believers are still “eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.” (Rom. 8:23 NKJV).

And they are also still waiting to receive “the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.” (1 Pet.1:9 NKJV).

But, at the instant the Lord Jesus descends from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God, the experience of the process of divine exchange will immediately be completed in the believers.

The Scripture amply speaks of our glorification.

1 John 3:
1 Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.
2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.
3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (NKJV).

When the Lord Jesus returns to the earth to receive you to Himself, your soul will be immediately transformed to be fully Christlike. At that moment, the process of your mind renewal will be fully completed.

1 Corinthians 13:
9 For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;
10 but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood. (RSV).

Similarly, at the instant of the physical return of the Lord Jesus to the earth, the believers will give up their vile, weak, earthly or mortal body in exchange for the glorious, heavenly, immortal or incorruptible body like that of Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. (NKJV).

Philippians 3:
20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (NKJV).

Beloved, while you are waiting for the climax of the process of the divine exchange at the physical return of the Lord Jesus; however, you must see to it that you are progressively experiencing divine exchange in your soul or mind.

How do you do this?
By renewing your mind according to the truths of God’s Word!

God expects you to consciously and constantly be putting off the mindsets of “the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” and in exchange be putting on the mindsets of “the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:22, 24 NKJV).

This happens as you constantly hear, read, study, imbibe, and meditate on, believe, confess and act upon the gospel truths or revelation knowledge of God’s Word (Rom. 12:2).

James 1:
21 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror;
24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.
(NKJV).

Friend, while you are eagerly waiting for the Lord Jesus to transform your lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, you are expected to daily or constantly receive God’s strength in exchange for the inherent weakness of your mortal body (Rom. 8:11, Phil. 3:21).

Moreover, while you are still waiting for the Lord to transform your corruptible body of sin, the Scripture admonishes you not to be a debtor to your flesh, to live according to the desires, passions, or lusts of the body.

Romans 8:
12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors--not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (NKJV).

Like Paul, you must constantly discipline your body and bring it into subjection through the help of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 9:
26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified. (NKJV).

Beloved, if you choose to walk in the Spirit – to be led, guided, governed and controlled by the Holy Spirit – you will not fulfill the lust of the flesh.

Therefore, Paul admonishes, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16 NKJV).

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to become all that I am so that in exchange I may become all that He is. My Dear Holy Spirit, teach and help me daily to appropriate and experience daily this glorious divine exchange in my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
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THIS IS THE WORK OF GOD

“Then they said to Him, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:28-29 NKJV)

After Jesus’ supernatural multiplication of five barley loaves and two small fish to feed the great multitude who had gathered to Him in the desert, the men who had seen the unusual sign and had eaten of the miraculous meal to their satisfaction, perceived and concluded wrongly that Jesus was a prophet.

Therefore, they chorused, "This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world." (John 6:14 NKJV).

Based upon their strong but wrong conviction and revelation of who Jesus Christ was, they rose up to forcefully make Him their King. But, when the Lord Jesus perceived that they were about to come and take Him by force to make Him their king, He departed from them to the mountain by Himself alone (John 6:15).

What a great example of humility to follow!

God’s servants today must not hesitate to run very far away from religious zealots who always seek, either subtly or forcefully, to turn God’s servants through whom they have received their miracles, healings, deliverances or breakthroughs into “their objects of worship or kings.”

Sadly, many great but unwary and gullible servants of God today have fallen into the “worship traps” and have become totally distracted from pursuing and fulfilling their God-given assignment or mission in life.

Although the Lord Jesus fled from the religious folks, who were seeking to forcefully enthrone Him as their King for their selfish motives and gains (for continuous supply of miraculous but perishable food), yet they sought everywhere for Jesus until they eventually found Him on the other side of the sea at Capernaum.

John 6:
22 On the following day, when the people who were standing on the other side of the sea saw that there was no other boat there, except that one which His disciples had entered, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with His disciples, but His disciples had gone away alone-
23 however, other boats came from Tiberias, near the place where they ate bread after the Lord had given thanks--
24 when the people therefore saw that Jesus was not there, nor His disciples, they also got into boats and came to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
25 And when they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, "Rabbi, when did You come here?"
26 Jesus answered them and said, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.
27 "Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." (NKJV).

God's servants today certainly need spiritual discernment, divine wisdom and courage to deal with carnal and religious people whose only desire and goal of coming to them is to receive and eat the food which perishes and not that which endures to everlasting life.

It is indeed an awesome thing to receive and experience a miracle, healing, deliverance or breakthrough from God through His servants. However, most times, we are too carried away by the thrill of a miracle to the extent that we fail to see the new and deep revelation of the Person and Nature of Jesus that the miracle was intended to reveal or convey to us.

Though the people saw the sign or miracle which Jesus had performed and ate the miraculous bread to their satisfaction, yet their perception and revelation of Jesus was distorted.

Therefore, when they came to Jesus, He chided them, saying, "Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled.” (John 6:26).

They only saw “the sign” (the physical miracle) but did not see “the signs” (the revelation knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ) that God intended for them to see through the miracle.

Although the people ate of the miraculous meal, yet they still did not believe and receive Jesus as their Messiah. They only saw and acknowledged Him as a prophet and a miracle worker, but not as their Messiah, the Saviour, and God in the flesh.

Therefore, when they found Jesus after the miraculous multiplication of bread, they said to Him, "What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do?" (John 6:30 NKJV).

Most times we also miss the revelation knowledge of the true Person and Nature of the Lord Jesus Christ in spite of seeing and receiving a miracle from Him. This is why our passion and prayer is mainly for the food which perishes – the earthly, material and fleeting things of this life.

When the religious men seeking Jesus only for another miracle asked Him, saying, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:29 NKJV).

Religious people are always seeking to appease, please, motivate or impress God with their performance or good works. Sadly, many people today have become too engrossed with doing “the works of God” that they neglect that which is most important and foundational.

The Scripture clearly reveals that the primary work God demands from men is simply to believe in His Son Jesus Christ, who He sent to be the propitiation for our sins and thus reconcile us to God.

1 John 3:
20 For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God.
22 And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight.
23 And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (NKJV).

No good or religious work pleases or satisfies God as a pure faith, trust or confidence in the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work. There is absolutely nothing you can do or give to God that will please, impress or move God other than putting your whole trust in Jesus Christ as your Saviour and Lord.

Jesus said to the religious Jews who were seeking to know and do God's works, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." (John 6:29 NKJV).

Beloved, if you ignore, reject, or refuse to acknowledge Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour, you are simply calling God a liar. In other words, you are saying that the testimony that God gave about His Son Jesus Christ is untrue or unreliable (Matt. 3:17, 17:5, John 12:28).

That is an unpardonable sin that leads to second death, eternal separation from God in hell fire!

John the beloved attests to this truth.

1 John 5:
10 He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son.
11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.
12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. (NKJV).

Friend, you cannot escape God’s wrath or judgement after this life if you don’t do “this work of God”, which is simply believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work as the only means of salvation, the only basis of having an intimate, loving and eternal relationship with God.

The Scripture warns, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." (John 3:36 NKJV).

Why not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and surrender to Him as your personal Lord and Saviour today?

Do this work of God today!

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to save me from my sins and reconcile me to You. I believe, receive, confess and surrender to the Lord Jesus Christ today as my personal Lord and Saviour, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
Tune in to our 24/7 Online Revival Today Radio @ http://heralds-of-revival.radiojar.com/
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I am no better than anyone else. I have things I am working on too. Like Elijah said, "I'm no better than my forefathers before me, it would be better for me to die and not to live." Anyone who tells you that they are better in any way than you are a long way from being better than anyone. 1 Kings 19:4-5

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Tuesday, August 30th 2016
THE NEW CREATION (Part 2)

“Anyone who is joined to Christ is a new being; the old is gone, the new has come.” (2 Cor. 5:17 GNT)

From the point you became born again through faith alone in the person and finished work of Jesus Christ, you have become an entirely New Creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (NKJV).

From God’s perspective, you are now a new self, a new being, and a new person in Christ. While many people around you may still see you or deal with you as the same old person, God will never again deal with you or relate with you according to your former sinful, selfish, corrupt and rebellious self.

In the first part of this piece we began to examine who the New Creation is and what He has from God’s perspective.

It is absolutely crucial for you as a born-again believer to begin to see, think, live, walk or operate in this evil world as a New Creation in Christ from the point you experienced the new birth. This is the only way to live a triumphant, overcoming and prosperous Christian life in this anti-Christ world.

Let us briefly recap what we have discovered so far about the New Creation in Christ.

First, the New Creation Possesses God’s kind of Nature:

You were born with a sinful, selfish, and corrupt nature inherited from Adam. It was that nature that made you a slave of Sin and Satan. But through the new birth, you have become a partaker of God’s holy and loving nature (2 Pet 1:1-4).

1 John 3:
9 No one born of God commits sin; for God's nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God. (RSV).

As a New Creation in Christ, you are presently and completely divine, holy, kind, loving, gentle and godly in your born-again spirit.

The Scripture states that your new spirit was created in God’s image and “after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.” (Eph. 4:24 RSV).

Second, the New Creation Possesses Eternal or Everlasting life:

In Adam you were dead spiritually – alienated from God’s life, but in Christ you are spiritually alive, possessing God’s kind of life (Zoe).

Everlasting life is not a future promise, but a present reality or possession of the New Creation in Christ.

John 3:
36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him. (NKJV).

Eternal life is not a mere spiritual capacity or privilege to spend eternity with God in heaven, but also the spiritual capacity to know God intimately and live an overcoming, victorious, triumphant, prosperous and successful life in this present world as the Lord Jesus did (Rom. 5:17).

Third, the New Creation Possesses the Spirit of Christ:

The spirit in the New Creation is the Spirit of Christ. The Scripture testifies that “because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" (Gal. 4:6 NKJV).

The New Creation in Christ is not in any way different to Christ in his spirit. This is why the Scripture states that “as He is, so are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NKJV). “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Cor. 6:17 NKJV).

Fourth, the New Creation Possesses the Mind of Christ:

The mind that the New Creation in Christ has is the exact mind of Christ; it is not a mind different or inferior to that of Christ by any standard.

The Scripture clearly states that “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor. 2:16 NKJV).

The New Creation in Christ “is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him.” (Col. 3:10 NKJV).

Therefore, the New Creation in Christ knows all things in his regenerated and anointed heart though his physical mind is limited in knowledge (Heb. 8:10-11).

The Scripture testifies of the New Creation in Christ, “But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things.” (1 John 2:20 NKJV).

Fifth, the New Creation is God’s Beloved:

As a New Creation you are completely and eternally loved, pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ. Through the new birth, you have been plucked out of Adam and engrafted by the Holy Spirit into the Christ, the Son in whom God is well pleased. Therefore, having become one with Christ, God loves you as He loves Christ (John 17:23).

As a New Creation in Christ, you are unconditionally, completely and eternally loved by God, accepted by God, favoured by God, and blessed by God in Christ Jesus, His Beloved Son.

Therefore, you don’t need to seek, strive or struggle to impress God in order to earn, deserve or merit His love, acceptance, favour or blessing (Eph. 1:5-6).

Let us now proceed to examine more truths about the New Creation.

Sixth, the New Creation is Irrevocably or Eternally Blessed:

The old man or being was a transgressor of God’s law and thus operated under the curse of the law. But, the new being or creation in Christ is a saint, having been justified and washed in the blood of the Lamb of God.

The New Creation in Christ is called “the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21 NKJV).

Therefore, he is not under any curse (Gal. 3:12-14). But, he is blessed with the believing Abraham (Gal. 3:9).

The New Creation in Christ is a joint heir of God’s blessing with Christ (Rom. 8:17). Having become one with Christ through the new birth, “you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” (Gal. 4:7 NKJV).

As a New Creation in Christ you are irrevocably blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 2 Pet. 1:2-3). This is why Paul writes, “Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours.” (1 Cor. 3:21 NKJV).

All that God has is now yours in Christ. Hallelujah!

Seventh, the New Creation Wields Unlimited Spiritual Power and Authority:

The New Creation in Christ is no longer a slave or captive of Sin and Satan, but a king and a priest unto God (Rev. 5:9-10, Eph. 2:4-7).

Revelation 1
4 John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne,
5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,
6 and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. (NKJV).

By reason of your spiritual union with Christ, you are presently seated with Christ in the heavenly places, “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” (Eph. 1:21 NKJV).

The spiritual power or authority of the New Creation is not inferior to that of Christ. The New Creation is actually invested with the power and authority of Christ over all the evil forces and powers.

Jesus said, "Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” (Luke 10:19 NKJV).

Therefore, no trial, challenge, adversary or adversity of life is expected to intimidate, oppress, harass or overcome you as a New Creation in Christ (Matt. 10:7-8, 16:19).

It is the destiny of the New Creation to reign in this present life through Christ Jesus.

Paul aptly attests to this truth in his epistle to the Romans.

Romans 5:
17 For if by the one man's offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ. (NKJV).

Lastly, the New Creation is God’s Spiritual House on Earth:

As a New Creation in Christ, you have become God’s spiritual house or temple on earth (1 Cor. 6:19-20, 2 Cor. 6:16). God is now pleased to dwell in you with all His fullness as He dwelt in Christ while He was on earth (Col. 1:19, 2:9).

The Scripture queries, “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16 NKJV).

Because God now lives in you, you need not to seek or search for God anywhere; you are the one carrying God about. You can now fellowship or commune with God anywhere, any day and anytime.

Like Jesus manifested God while He carried God’s fullness on earth, you also must make it your chief aim or priority in life to fully and constantly manifest or reveal God to the world (John 1:18, Isa. 43:7, 21, 1 Pet. 2:9).

Beloved, you are now a brand New Creation in Christ. Your old self that was corrupt, sinful, fearful, and cursed is gone forever, having being crucified with Christ.

Therefore, carefully and thoroughly examine your life today to see if there is still anything associated with the old man lingering on in your life.

Don’t spare, cover, or seek to explain away, or make excuses for any sickness, lack, poverty, failure, depression, anger, fear, worry, anxiety, and such things in your life. They all belong to the old man and thus have no right to remain with you, the new man or creation in Christ.

Friend, as a New Creation in Christ, you have the right and authority to uproot and evict out of your life anything belonging to the old man. Be very specific, direct, firm and resolute as you command them to leave your life.

Let them know that you are now a New Creation in Christ and that their former host or friend is dead and gone. Stand your ground and wield your spiritual authority in Christ until there is no trace of anything belonging to the old man in your life.


Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for investing me with unlimited spiritual power and authority of Christ as a New Creation in Christ. Today, I uproot and cast out of my life any evil thing belonging to the old man that is still lingering on in my life, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
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THE MODEL WALL FOR TODAY’S CHURCH

"Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28 NKJV).

One of the spectacular visions that John the beloved saw when he was banished to the island of Patmos for the testimony of Jesus Christ was the vision of “the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2 NKJV).

The unique and impressive wall of the Heavenly Jerusalem, a city whose maker and builder is God, is a model or pattern wall for today’s Church.

The impressive wall of the New Jerusalem which John the beloved saw in a striking vision coming down out of heaven from God highlights the major attributes or qualities that all the men and women in the leadership position in the Church, who constitute the spiritual walls of the Church, should possess and evince.

In every generation, God is always looking for and calling some men to make up or build a spiritual wall for His people.

Prophet Ezekiel reveals God’s mind, saying, "So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” (Eze. 22:30 NKJV).

"You have not gone up into the gaps to build a wall for the house of Israel to stand in battle on the day of the LORD.” (Eze. 13:5 NKJV).

The Scripture reveals that the New Testament believers are living stones that make up a spiritual house for God.

1 Peter 2:
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (NKJV).

Among the living stones that make up the spiritual temple of God some are divinely, specifically and strategically positioned as “the wall.” These are men and women in position of authority or leadership in the Church.

While the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Good Shepherd and “the Gate” to the sheepfold, yet He has graciously called and given some believers the privilege and responsibility to be His under-shepherds. These God’s chosen and appointed leaders in the Church are those who constitute “the spiritual wall of the Church.” They are the spiritual walls for the flock of God!

Beyond nurturing, feeding and caring for the sheep of God, the shepherds or spiritual leaders in the Church are also charged with the responsibility of watching over, protecting and defending God’s flock against the encroachment and invasion of the world and the devil.

Paul gives this admonition to the elders of the Church at Ephesus.

Acts 20:
27 "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.
28 "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
29 "For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.
31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (NKJV).

This admonition is for all Church leaders today!

Our churches today are filled with all sorts of abominations and evils because many of our spiritual leaders or shepherds whom God has strategically positioned as “the spiritual wall” are too weak, feeble and shallow to defend the Church against the floods of ungodliness, pollution and corruption.

The Holy Spirit is therefore calling for a rebuilding and reconstruction of the spiritual walls of today’s Church.

In order to build a strong spiritual wall that can stop the encroachment and advancement of the world and the devil against the Church, it is imperative for us to carefully examine, study and understand the peculiar foundation, the height, the width, and nature of the model wall of the Heavenly Jerusalem where God dwells and no unclean thing can enter (Rev. 21:27).

First, let us examine the peculiar foundation of the model wall of the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 21:
14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. (NKJV).

The foundation of a building, though underneath, is very significant. It is the depth of the foundation that determines the height of the building. A shallow foundation cannot carry or support a skyscraper.

The impressive height of the wall of heavenly Jerusalem was standing on twelve solid foundations of all kinds of precious stones, bearing the names of the twelve apostles of Christ (Rev. 21:14, 19).

Similarly, church leaders today must have spiritual depth in God’s Word. Unless we are built on the foundation of the apostles (apostles’ doctrine) with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone we shall remain a weak, feeble and porous wall that cannot stop the invasion and infiltration of the world and the devil (Acts 2:42, Eph. 2:20-22, Jude 1:3).

Unfortunately, many of our spiritual leaders today are men and women without any spiritual depth. It is their spiritual shallowness that is responsible for the spiritual and moral deficiencies or weaknesses staring us in the face in the Church today.

Damnable heresies and false doctrines have infiltrated the Church because many of our spiritual leaders are too shallow in God’s Word.

Second, the twelve foundations of the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem was also said to be made up of twelve solid and precious stones.

Revelation 21:
19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones: the first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald,
20 the fifth sardonyx, the sixth sardius, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. (NKJV).

It is the nature or strength of the foundation materials that determines the strength of the building or the structure on it. A foundation made of weak materials cannot carry or support a strong building.

Our spiritual walls today are weak, feeble, and unfit to stop the encroachment of the adversaries because the spiritual foundations of many of our leaders are weak. Many of them are not built firmly on God’s Word.

The Scriptures vividly describes that the wall of heavenly Jerusalem was built on twelve foundations with the names of the twelve apostles written on them (Rev. 21:14).

The foundation of the apostles comprises the body of teachings, the revelations, the principles and doctrines of Christ which were passed down in the Church by the apostles of Christ. This is what our brother Jude called “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3 NKJV).

Nothing else offers a solid, firm, secure and enduring foundation for any believer or leader than the foundation of the apostles with Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:
19 Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,
20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
21 in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord,
22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. (NKJV).

Our walls (spiritual leaders) are cringing, collapsing and crumbling before the enemy today because many of them are not built on a sure, firm and solid foundation of the apostles with Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone.

God is calling all those in the leadership position in our churches today to prayerfully and carefully examine their spiritual foundation – its depth and nature. This starts with examining your life to be sure that you are genuinely born again through faith alone in the person of Jesus Christ and His finished work.

Do you have a witness of the Spirit in your heart that you are a child of God?

Now is the time to locate, identify and fix every hidden fault, crack or weakness in your foundation so that you can be strong and fit to defend and repel off ravenous wolves from God’s flock.

The third striking feature to consider and emulate from the model wall of the New Jerusalem built by God is its impressive height and thickness - 200 feet high and thick.

Revelation 21:
16 The city is laid out as a square; its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: twelve thousand furlongs. Its length, breadth, and height are equal.
17 Then he measured its wall: one hundred and forty-four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. (NKJV).

Imagine a wall of such height and thickness!

The Church today needs leaders who are spiritually mature, high, thick or strong as her spiritual walls.

Men and women who occupy leadership position in our churches must not be babes in spiritual understanding, or immature, undiscerning, unstable, untrained and inexperienced in godliness and in the handling of the Word of life.

Unfortunately, in many of our churches today, it is the carnal, sensual, ungodly, unrepentant, unregenerate, unlearned or unskilled men and women in God’s Word that constitute the spiritual walls (the spiritual leaders).

Any wonder they cannot stop the invasion of the flood of ungodliness and immorality into their churches?

Our spiritual leaders (the spiritual walls of the Church) may not be able to withstand the pressures, violent attacks, and aggressions of the adversaries this end-time unless they grow up in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, thereby becoming strong in the power of God’s might (2 Pet. 3:18, 2 Cor. 4:8-10).

However, true spiritual growth and thickness require spending quality time daily or regularly in God’s Word and prayer, and discipline and diligence in following the Lord’s instructions and teachings. Spiritual muscles are mostly built up during personal, deep and intimate fellowship with God.

Servants of God are called to be good examples to believers in longsuffering, perseverance and patience. Sadly, many of our spiritual leaders today are weak and porous spiritual walls because they are slothful in the study of God’s Word and prayer.

Many are only pleasures-seeking and comfort-loving. Their inordinate passions for the ephemeras make them to be easily swayed by doctrines of demons, and quick to compromise the faith of old for title, position, fame and wealth.

Lastly, another feature or attribute of the wall of heavenly Jerusalem that spiritual leaders today must possess and manifest is the nature and quality of its material.

The Scripture reveals that the material or construction of its wall was of jasper.

Revelation 21:
18 The construction of its wall was of jasper; and the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
(NKJV).

Jasper is the most precious stone, clear as crystal. In the Scripture, God’s glory is often described as being like a jasper stone.

The heavenly Jerusalem was described as “Having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.” (Rev. 21:11 NKJV).

As thick as the wall of the heavenly Jerusalem was, it was as transparent as crystalline jasper to reveal the incredible beauty of the city. Among all precious stones, only jasper is colourless; it is clear as crystal. This depicts never-ending glory and purity.

It is God’s desire that the spiritual walls (spiritual leaders) of the Church today will be like jasper: pure, transparent, and unstained by the corruption of the flesh and the world, and ever reflecting the glory of God.

Beloved, as a spiritual wall of today’s Church, your life is expected by God to be like a jasper stone - clear as crystal and reflecting the nature, glory, image and character of Christ.

You are supposed to be honest, plain, upright and forthright in all your dealings. Truth, honesty, integrity and transparency must be your watchwords in all your transactions with the people.

The Scripture admonishes you to “be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (1 Tim. 4:12 NKJV).

For a spiritual leader, vastness in God’s Word is not optional. You must seek to be balanced and versatile in God’s Word. Enough of laziness, slumbering and frivolities! It is time to be disciplined and diligent in the study of God’s Word and in prayer.

Like the early apostles (early church leaders), let us shun all frivolities and distractions, but "give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." (Acts 6:4 NKJV).

Let us grow up to be great, thick and high spiritual walls around God’s flock entrusted to our care.

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, deliver me today from all distractions and frivolities, and from slothfulness and slumbering. Dear Holy Spirit, help me to become disciplined and diligent in laboring daily in the Word and prayer, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
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TAKE YOUR REST IN THE LORD

“Take your rest in the Lord, waiting quietly for him; do not be angry because of the man who does well in his evil ways, and gives effect to his bad designs.” (Psalms 37:7 BBE)

There is surely an eternal rest for the believers in heaven; however, the Scripture assures that there is also a true rest, peace, and joy in the Lord available to the believers now in this present life.

Sadly, many believers today have been deceived by the devil into postponing their rest in the Lord to when they get to heaven.

As a born-again believer you don’t need to defer your rest, peace, and joy in the Lord till after you leave this evil world. The Lord Jesus has made provision for you to have rest, peace and joy in this present troubled world.

The Lord Jesus assures His disciples of true peace in Him.

John 14:
27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (NKJV).

John 16:
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (NKJV).

There is no doubt that perfect and eternal rest, peace, and joy await true believers in heaven (Rev. 21:4). However, God wants you to have a foretaste of the perfect rest, peace and joy awaiting you in heaven while you live amidst the turmoil of this present life.

The Lord Jesus said, "Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt. 11:28 NKJV).

If truly you have come to Christ and submitted to His lordship, you have a divine right and access to a divine rest in the Lord while you live in this agitated world.

One of the primary evidences of knowing and following the Lord is that you will possess and evince real rest, peace and joy even when you are in the midst of tribulation or persecution.

In the face of death the face of Stephen, the first martyr among the early disciples, was said to be glowing like the face of an angel. He was apparently not fearful, restless or troubled (Acts. 6:15).

The word “rest” in the Hebrew “damam” literarily means “to be dumb.” This implies “to stop, to cease, to hold peace, to quiet self, to be silent, to be still, to tarry or wait.”

To take rest in the Lord therefore imply: “to stop from struggling to please God through the works of the law; to cease from fear, worries and anxieties about anything; to hold your peace in the midst of troubles, trusting in the Lord’s help; to quiet yourself and refuse to be upset, restless or agitated in the days of adversities; and to be still and wait upon the Lord for divine instructions when under pressures to act.

It is God’s command that everyone who comes to Christ must take their rest in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Psalms 37:
7 Take your rest in the Lord, waiting quietly for him; do not be angry because of the man who does well in his evil ways, and gives effect to his bad designs. (BBE).

How do you know someone who has taken his rest in the Lord?
He will cease from his works!

Hebrews 4:
10 For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. (NKJV).

What sort of works is this scripture talking about here?
The works of the law!

You cannot enter into the Lord’s rest until you cease from struggling to overcome Sin and Satan in your own strength and wisdom, and from seeking to appease or please God through your good works, self righteousness, or adherence to some religious rules or rites.

The Scripture records that when the heavens and the earth and all the host of them were finished, God rested on the seventh day from all His works which He had done (Gen. 2:1-3).

God rested from His works of creation, not to sleep or go on vacation because He had become exhausted, but to relish or take pleasure in all that He had created.

Similarly, Jesus Christ has completely finished the redemptive work for the salvation of mankind by His death and resurrection. No man needs to do any other works or offer any other sacrifices to be saved or to earn God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing.

All that God wants us to do is to take our rest in the Lord - to take pleasure in the finished work of Christ by simply putting our complete trust or confidence in the person and finished work of Christ and appropriating and enjoying the benefits of His finished work.

Our self-righteousness, performance or good works can never please or satisfy God completely, or earn us God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing. It is therefore useless striving to observe, keep or adhere to any or some religious rules or rituals for the purpose of earning God’s love, acceptance, favour, blessing, or salvation.

Paul aptly explains this truth.

Romans 4:
1 What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh?
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness."
4 Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt.
5 But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (NKJV).

Galatians 2:
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (NKJV).

The grace of God in Christ Jesus has brought salvation to all men. God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing is available to all men as a gift at the expense of Christ’s suffering and death.

Paul aptly states this truth.

Ephesians 2:
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,
9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. (NKJV).

Romans 5
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (NKJV).

Romans 11:
6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (NKJV).

Titus 2:
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. (NKJV).

Beloved, you take your rest in the Lord when you cease striving or seeking to appease, please or impress God or to earn God’s love, acceptance, favour or blessing by your performance, self-righteousness or good works, but rather take pleasure in, rely upon or trust completely in the finished work of Christ as the only basis for having a loving and intimate relationship with God and for possessing and enjoying God’s blessings.

It takes a spiritual understanding that Christ has defeated Sin, Satan and the World by His death on the cross for you to enter into His rest.

You will always experience inward rest, overflowing joy, and peace that surpass all understanding in spite of your circumstances if you truly know and deeply believe that the Lord Jesus loves you unconditionally and infinitely, and has won for you a complete victory through His death and resurrection.

You will not lose your sleep, peace, rest or joy over any spiritual, physical, financial, physical, or emotional need if you truly know and believe that God has already blessed you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ and that all things are now yours in Christ (Eph. 1:3, 1 Cor. 3:21-22, Rom. 8:17, 2 Pet. 1:3).

Friend, enough of fretting and running all over the place! Christ has fought, won, defeated and finished all your battles and adversaries through His death and resurrection.

Therefore, God is calling you today to cease from your fear, worry and anxiety, and to begin to take your rest in the Lord, taking pleasure in and trusting completely in the finished work of Christ for your salvation.

Prayer: My Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all the divine provisions You have made available for me in Christ so that I may have a foretaste of the eternal bliss awaiting me in heaven. From today, I cease from my toiling, worries, anxieties and fears, and I enter into the Lord’s rest, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

-Written by Jegede Sunday E.
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