TODAY’S DEVOTION (THURSDAY 13TH JULY 2023)**
“Now about this time, when the number of the disciples was greatly increasing, a complaint was made by the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked and neglected in the daily ministration (distribution of relief).
So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food.
Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte (convert) from Antioch.
These they presented to the apostles, who after prayer laid their hands on them.
And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].” Acts 6:1-7 APMC
WELCOME TO THE 194TH DAY OF OUR YEAR OF SIGNS AND WONDERS.
For 194 days this year alone, we have had functional minds, lungs, hearts, kidneys, and all that, because of the love of Jesus Christ for us. His precious Holy Spirit has kept our lives alive and well.
A dear servant of God once said, “The Spirit of the LORD has made me. The breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Indeed, it is the breath of the Almighty that has given us life these 194 days. To God belong the glory!
If he had given us the power of our enemies, we would have died long ago. But our lives and destinies are hidden in Christ. That is why no one has been able to pluck them out of His hands.
Yes, Jesus alone holds the keys to hell and death. He has not delegated them to anyone, no! Not to any dark soul. The longevity of your life, ministry, and whatever may concern you, is not dependent on the threats of your enemies. That is why Jesus should be enough for you!
The keys of hell and of death are still safely in His hands. That is why we are alive. The Psalmist says, “To Him belong escapes from death.” Not to anyone. I reiterate again, that the longevity of our lives is not in the threat of the wicked, or their evil words. It is in the hands of He who hold the keys of hell and of death.
He said in His words;
“I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:18 NKJV
I repeat, if those keys were not in His hands, we would have long been dead. For instance, if they were in the hands of those preachers and their stooges who spewed venoms of hate against me calling me all kinds of names on social media, I would not have been alive.
But when God sends you, He does not just back you up, He protects you from any dark soul that may be swayed to deal a fatal blow on you, by the unclean spirits He sent you against.
He said to Jeremiah;
“Therefore prepare yourself and arise, And speak to them all that I command you. Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them.
For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land—Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land.
They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.” Jeremiah 1:17-19 NKJV
What He said to Jeremiah then, has become what He is saying to us now, because Jeremiah dealt with the same unclean forces then, that He has raised us to deal with today.
He is saying to us, “…Do not be dismayed before their faces, Lest I dismay you before them. For behold, I have made you this day A fortified city and an iron pillar, And bronze walls against the whole land—Against the kings of Judah, Against its princes, Against its priests, And against the people of the land. They will fight against you, But they shall not prevail against you. For I am with you,” says the Lord, “to deliver you.”
WITH THIS KIND OF WORDS FROM THE LORD, WHY SHOULD WE NOT REMAIN LOYAL TO THE LORD?
Brethren, we will keep doing what He commands us to do, and speaking what He places in our hearts to speak. All our lives He has been faithful. All our lives, He has been so good. In everything we are grateful. So, we will keep declaring His decrees and He will keep making us sing of His goodness.
His goodness, mercies, power, kindness, glory, presence, preservation, and all benefits that He loads His own with, will keep running after us. Consequently, those who are running after us, to kill, steal, or destroy like their master the devil, will not be able to do anything against us.
We have not forgotten the admonition of the LORD that said to us;
“Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops.
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:27-30 NKJV
Who will have these kinds of words from the LORD and be afraid of what men may do or say? Who will have this kind of promise from the LORD, and not speak His word as He propels him or her to say them, despite any threat? Who will have this kind of assurance from the LORD and not have faith in Him, even to their last breath? I think no one!
These were the very words that made our Bible fathers bold enough to discuss death. It gave Paul the boldness to confront false prophets, false teachers, and false apostles in his days.
He even called them *“servants”*or “ministers of Satan.”
Try that today and rogue preachers and their stooges will accuse you of attacking other men of God and presenting yourself as holier than others. But this man of God and father of our faith was bold. He was even more thorough than some of us.
HIS BOLDNESS SHOWS THAT IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO HAVE THE LORD BY YOUR SIDE AND STILL FEAR MEN.
His life and that of other Bible fathers teach that, it is impossible to have the fear of God and the fear of men at the same time. Their ministries show that the two kinds of fears cannot co-exist in one person’s heart. It is from them we learned that, if you fear God, you will not fear what men can do to you, and if you fear what men will do to you, it will be impossible to fear God and obey Him.
The fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of God brings boldness and freedom from all other fears.
We have been looking at a key rhema word that came to us two days ago. The word “without.” We have seen that without holiness, no eye shall see the LORD and without faith, it is impossible to please God.
So, you will never be able to please God and stand in the battle of neutralizing end-times spirits that have invaded the Church, if you do not have faith in His word to keep even your hair from getting loss. It is clear that the word “without” was a rhema word that came to help us refresh our minds on certain truths that our destinies need to be fulfilled. We have seen two of them, now let’s look at the third.
The next “without” I want us to look into this morning was coined out of our devotional text. It was coined out of the part that says, “…we will give ourselves entirely to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.” From this verse of the text, we can see that, “Without fellowshipping with God, you will never walk in Holiness or Faith.”
We must all understand that there is no one born holy, no not one; and there is no one born with the faith of the son of God. No not one! That is why the Bible says;
“As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God.
They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one.” Romans 3:10-12 NKJV
FRIEND, YOU AND I ARE NOT BORN HOLY, NEITHER ARE WE BORN WITH THE FAITH OF THE SON OF GOD.
All that comes to us, when we come to the LORD Jesus Christ and begin to have unbroken fellowship with His Holy Spirit. That is when the condemnation of our lives is removed. That is when we are made holy and infused with the faith of the Son of God.
That also explains, why the Holy Spirit is the first gift we get as soon as we give our lives to Christ. It further tells us why the Bible says anyone who does not have the Holy Spirit, does not belong to Christ. He is actually the one who gets us adopted into the Family of God, through a regeneration and an inward washing.
So, fellowshipping with Him is key to becoming all that God has called or destined us to be, including living a life of holiness and faith.
From our devotional text, we see that our Bible fathers prioritized fellowshipping with Him, above all other things. They also showed us that one way we fellowship with the Holy Spirit is by giving ourselves entirely to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
God is making it clear to us this morning that if we will see a glorious life in these critical seasons that are upon us, by walking in purity and the faith of the Son of God, our intimacy with Him must be intact. We must learn to give ourselves entirely to prayer and to the ministry of the word.
Now, the ministry of the word, is not the use of Bible verses, to make you pray for the recovery of your lost star, marriage, or money. It is not the use of Bible verses to pray, conduct deliverance, ask people to give then lead them in prayer, serve them holy communion, or wash their feet.
The ministry of the word is the systematic presentation of the doctrine of Christ until people become temples for GOD in the Spirit.
The error of many is, they give themselves entirely to prayer, but not to the ministry of the word, and end up touching dark spirits in the realm of the evil one, calling them God. If Jesus never came as the word of God, He would have taken the voice of Satan that came to Him after His forty-day fast as God and ruin our salvation plan.
THAT EXPLAINS HOW THE SALVATION OF MANY HAS BEEN RUINED BY THE SAME ERROR BECAUSE TODAY SOUND DOCTRINE SEEMS TO BE RARE.
Most prayer people worship in Churches where the Bible is used but not taught. The Bible is used to keep the people under money-making controls or deliverance programs, but not taught. When the Bible is taught and properly taught, people will not be engaged in deliverance programs, because the Word will deliver them.
The Bible says,
“He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” Psalm 107:20 NKJV
Friend, we must learn to walk in Holiness and Faith. However, no one can be Holy by himself. Our only hope is to plug back into God and receive downloads of His Holiness and faith into our lives.
As you pass through this day, and the rest of the month, make fellowship your watchword! Build a life of intimacy with God. That was what the early Church did and the world is yet to recover from the effect of such powerful living.
Start giving yourself entirely to prayers and the ministry of the word, and your life will take a new turn of Holiness and faith. You won’t fail in Jesus’ precious name. Amen
LET THIS SCRIPTURE BE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR TUS TODAY!
“but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” Acts 6:4 NKJV