TODAY’S DEVOTION (THURSDAY 27TH JULY 2023)**
“Now the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the persons, and take the goods for yourself.”
“But Abram said to the king of Sodom, “I have raised my hand to the Lord, God Most High, the Possessor of heaven and earth, that I will take nothing, from a thread to a sandal strap, and that I will not take anything that is yours, lest you should say, ‘I have made Abram rich’
— except only what the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men who went with me: Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.” Genesis 14:21-NKJV
WELCOME TO THE 208TH DAY OF OUR YEAR OF SIGNS AND WONDERS.
It has been days of God’s mercies, compassion, and grace. He has been so good to us. We are like plants, well-watered with the marvelous deeds predetermined by His throne. That is why we thrive even in very terrible circumstances.
He has done and will keep doing things that our mouths will remain too small to tell them all. We give Him all the glory and will remain His servants and children until our days are fulfilled. There will be no alternative, He will remain our all in all.
When you serve the unchangeable God, there will be a consistent flow of blessings He predetermined to flow into your life before the foundation of the world. That is what makes us succeed even in the presence of our enemies, or the presence of very terrible circumstances.
There will be a consistent flow of uncommon favor, peace, protection, provision, kindness, power, purity, directives, truth, grace, presence, prosperity, revelation, and all we need to become what He created us to be, especially in a wicked and perverse generation. There will be no trace of inconsistency in the flow of any of these things.
That is why those who serve Him, move from strength to strength, and their paths are like a shining light, that shines brighter and brighter unto a perfect day. Wise believers in Christ will make sure they remain loyal to GOD, irrespective of the situation they face on earth. We see that in the lives of our Bible fathers. One of them said;
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 NKJV
This scripture contains what I will call the survival principle of the elects. Job must have used this principle in his own days. Though we can not find the same words anywhere in the book of Job, we can find them in his life.
PAUL MUST HAVE LOOKED INTO HIS LIFE AND FOUND THIS BEAUTIFUL PRINCIPLE OF SURVIVAL.
It teaches that, for us in the Kingdom of God, we do not lose heart when things that are happening are not pleasant. We make sure our hands remain on the plough of divine service and submission to God. By so doing, the LORD will make sure whatever might be happening works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
That is why we do not look at the things which are seen; we do not allow any terrible circumstances that might be happening to take our attention and focus. The word that comes daily, helps us to focus on eternal things; they help us see the temporality of whatever might be happening, even kindling faith and hope within us.
Most nations today, are facing very terrible economic situations. Only those who control the government, and those who live under their shadows are having no economic pains. Some tell us the opposite, but you can see by the way they spend, they are not going through what the rest are going through.
The good news is, seasons like these are not new to God. The king of the earth has no surprises. Before times like these emerge, there are always plans on ground for His own. The Bible says the plans are good and not evil.
One of the plans is the plan of feeding our hearts with wisdom that comes from Him daily. If God talks to you on daily bases, no matter what is happening around you, there will always be light and understanding to stand on and keep pressing through, until things change, because no unpleasant situation we face on earth has the capacity to remain if our walk with GOD remains.
Like Job, we will eventually walk away from the unpleasant season, and come into a beautiful and pleasant one.
We only need to keep our hearts tuned to His word and not become desperate. He said in His word, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.” In another place, He said, “The words that I speak to you, they are spirits and they are life.”
We survive during seasons like these, by exposing our hearts to words that are spirit and life; things that proceed from the mouth of the LORD, and by having the right people around us. Yes, we can say the right words, and the right people around us, are all we need to move from any unpleasant situation we find ourselves to a pleasant one. The right person might not be a physical person but a person you met in the Bible, or a book.
IT MIGHT ALSO BE A PHYSICAL PERSON.
But you will need the right person from the LORD, and words that are spirit and life from Him, to come out well when you find yourself in unpleasant circumstances. God created the human life to need words from Him and the people He has touched to touch our lives to become all He created it to be. He created the human life to survive any situation through those two.
Job was propelled from the unpleasant season he faced to a pleasant one by the right words that came to him from God, and the one right person called Elihu, the youngest of His three friends who, though blaming Job for his woes, spoke words that prepared Job’s heart to hear God directly.
Right people and right words from the LORD, will be required for us to survive any unpleasant situation from hell. Satan knows this, and that is why he surrounds us with wrong words and wrong people who may appear helpful at that time, to further burry us in any circumstances we find ourselves.
One of the most important things to ask from the LORD always is the gift of the right people and the flow of the right words from His Holy Spirit. Right words will come to you through platforms like this, or as you spend time with your Bible or in fellowship with other believers. But right people come differently. They come through certain things you must know.
I have come to realize that people that life and providence surround with right people from birth, tend to succeed faster and quicker in life than those buried in the rubbles of wrong relationships. Though God has a way of using the wrong to purify us, and sometimes push us into destiny, life can be very slow and sad if you spend it with the wrong person or people.
Yes, except you know how to make the right decisions, life can be very slow and sad when spent with the wrong people. To understand this, permit me to repeat a story I shared on this platform a few years back.
Between 1984 when we came to Abuja, and 1994, a year after I embraced the call of God upon my life, our immediate family was involved in a lot of farming in the young City of Abuja then.
My Dad was a police officer and had just been transferred from Calabar, where Hope Wadel served as a missionary over a century ago, in Cross River State, South-south of Nigeria, to Abuja, a year before (1983).
The government of the day was still trying to convince people to move from Lagos Nigeria, and other places, to the new and then young capital city of Nigeria, Abuja. So, there was enough land to use in growing crops and dealing with hunger, because the economy was bad.
THOUGH FOOD WAS RELATIVELY CHEAP BUT THERE WAS LITTLE OR NO MONEY TO BUY.
So, we ended up growing virtually every Nigerian crop you can think of. The only things we did not grow were onions, oil, salt, and water. That is hilarious but really true.
During those farming years, I learnt a lot of lessons, one of which I want to share. I understood the different kinds of weeds that grow around crops. I learned about weeding. I discovered that crops will never grow if you do not weed and free them from all plants that grow around them; things you never planted.
So, in the days of weeding the farms to allow the crops to grow, we will carefully remove the weeds, and when that happens you see the crops growing beautifully and producing bountifully in their seasons.
Now, what is true of these plants, is true of you and I, do not be mistaken about it. The life of a man or woman of destiny is like those crops.
Satan has a way of planting weeds around us. Those weeds are the many wrong relationships that grow in our lives, either through stupid marriages, foolish business connections, desire for companionship, blood connections that should not have happened, and other related things.
Yes, there are blood connections and marital relationships that should never have happened, if people had lived right and followed the will of GOD. When they happen, you will find yourself with blood or marital relatives (wife, husband, father, mother, uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, siblings, in-laws, and even children, etc.) that should never have happened.
Though if all of them find their way in God and serve the LORD, things will be beautiful. But where they do not, you will find out that living with demons is even better than living with them, because demons can be chased away in moments, but these ones, they remain with you for life.
If wrong persons are not wisely weeded out of our lives, from time to time, especially like Abram did to Lot (and God gave him three great friends in replacement as we can see in our devotional text), or like he did to Hagar and Ishmael, we will never grow beautifully, or produce bountifully.
THE WISDOM OF WEEDING IS A WISDOM WE MUST EMBRACE.
If Satan plants a leper (one with a contagious sinful habit, e.g sexual sin or hate), a person with discharge (one with contagious indiscipline and lawlessness), or one who is fun of touching the dead around you (a person who touches things that kills the fire or life of God in your life), as a relationship, you will be ruined within a short time.
The wisdom I gathered from those farming years, made me understand that weeding should be part of human life because we live in an imperfect world. If you do not make seasonal weeding part of your life as a Child of God, you will never grow to become what God has called you to be.
There is a kind of people you must wake up to weed out of your life from time to time, or else you will move from being a crop in God’s farm to becoming a weed yourself. It’s your responsibility to discern them by the Holy Spirit.
You do not need to listen to gossip, backbiters, or concerned people; just discern them by the Holy Spirit and take the proper decision. Maybe this will help you. I have come to discover that every relationship (spiritual, marital, social, economical, or whatever) does four things to us;
They divide us positively or negatively.
They subtract from us negatively or positively.
They add to us negatively or positively.
They multiply us negatively or positively.
If a relationship has been dividing you negatively, subtracting good from you and adding nothing, or just adding to your sorrows and diminishing you, or multiplying you negatively, apply the “weeding principle.” In other words, weed them away to save your life (as the crop), like we did to our farmland.
I can’t forget the year we reaped a great harvest because of proper application of the weeding principle. Your life will begin to take a great leap forward if you can wisely do the weeding it needs to move forward.
It is time to write down the weeds in your life and meet the LORD for the wisdom to use in taking them out. You do not depend on your own wisdom, because the Bible says “lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”
So, you depend on God’s directives. Also, you do not allow sentiments to cloud your judgment. It will keep the weed. You can only love your neighbor “as” you love yourself, not less or more than you love yourself. In simple terms, if you have not loved yourself, you will not be able to love your neighbour. You will be hypocritical trying to love your neighbour.
The principle of seasonal weeding is very important in dealing with wrong relationships, irrespective of who they are.
I remember one day I went into our rice farm and discovered some weeds growing along with the rice. Honestly, I did not know they were weeds because they looked alike. But as they grew together, the weeds became very clear to us. We carefully moved into the farm and removed them away to save the crops.
Wrong relationships sometimes are like that; they look right when they first appear. But as they grow, their true nature will begin to emerge. If you do not carefully weed them out of your life, you may grow up with them and get to the evening season of your life, spending your last years on earth as an old wretched man or woman, regretting over so many things that can no longer be amended.
I believe the message of today has been passed. When we come back tomorrow, we will pick up from where we stopped on this important topic. We will still look at certain truths in our devotional text that we could not see today!
Jesus as a man, had to pray all night to be able to know the right persons to be with Him. That is how important matters of having the right people are.
You could have all other things right like Jesus had, but if you do not have your relationships right, it will destroy all other things you have right. On the other hand, you could have all other things wrong, but if you have your relationships right, it will make all other things right. May the LORD help all of us.
LET THIS SCRIPTURE BE AN ADDITIONAL MEDITATION FOR THE DAY!
“Now it came to pass in those days that He went out to the mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.
And when it was day, He called His disciples to Himself; and from them He chose twelve whom He also named apostles:
Simon, whom He also named Peter, and Andrew his brother; James and John; Philip and Bartholomew; Matthew and Thomas; James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called the Zealot; Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot who also became a traitor. Luke 6:12-16 NKJV