GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni
- 27th April, 2015
- 13th April, 2015
- 6th April, 2015
TIMELY WARNING - 9
"HOW RICH AM I TOWARDS GOD?!"
The conclusion of the matter of this Timely Warning is:
“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
Luke 12:20-21 KJV
Stock taking is a crucial part of every business that must thrive. So is it with the Christian life. Even if you choose not to be a Christian, this does not exempt you from taking stock of how you have been living your life daily within the short time we are to spend on this side of eternity. How rich am I towards God? And you, how rich are you towards God?
One day I was driving behind an army truck. I wanted to overtake it but the Holy Spirit said I should wait. I had followed this vehicle for more than ten kilometers. It was carrying a corpse. Soldiers were inside with the late man’s wife and children. I was following that truck like that, wanting to overtake but the Lord said, “wait.” Then one man came from behind at high speed and overtook me. But as he wanted to overtake the truck, he saw a Road Safety Corps vehicle (a Nigerian Road traffic law enforcement agency) coming about 300 meters away. He wanted to dodge; and had he tried to enter between my car and the truck, he would have hit my car (that would have been trouble for me). So instead, he went and hit the truck. The front part of the car went under the truck’s tire, lifted it up and the truck started to somersault. I have never seen such a thing.
Imagine what happen to that woman whose husband had died. The corpse was inside the truck and they were on their way to his village to bury him. There and then she lost three of her children, her younger brother and another person who was escorting the dead also died. Seven people died. As I was looking at them, the Holy Spirit said, “It could have been you. The devil aimed at you. But I gave the lives of men for your ransom.” I just pulled my car aside and parked, w ith no scratch, nothing. Then all of us inside came out. People, who were talking, chatting and laughing in that truck a few minutes before, were all gone. It was such a horrible sight and tragedy.
The question I asked myself was that if I had died what of all the plans for revival meetings I was having? What would have happened? On that day I was coming from a village where we went to do a crusade. We were seven in the car. Seven of us were exchange for seven others. God said it could have been us. My life could have been over. I would have been one of ‘the late’ now. Then I took stock and said, “Lord, what could I have missed?” Nothing! No fat bank account. The only thing I could have missed was preaching.
As we were pulling those dead people out, the woman was wailing and saying, “You this wicked husband, why did you treat me like this? If you wanted to die you should have died alone. Why did you carry all my children away? What am I living for?” Yes, what was she living for? What is life? Are you not a fool that you are spending all your life on the peripherals? You have no connection with heaven. You have never thought, “Where should I invest my life? Where will I spend eternity? What am I sending to heaven? What am I sending to eternity?”
Can you also take stock of your life even now? May be you are sixty years or forty-five or even thirty years. How much of those thirty years have you invested for heaven? Just think about it. Thirty years, you have always been a student, collecting papers and because of this, you have no time to be useful to God. When anybody calls you for Bible Study or Soul-winning, you refuse. Your excuse has always been that you are busy. You say you are doing something so that you will be comfortable tomorrow. Are you not a fool? This past forty-five years that you have been alive, you are yet to spend even one year to do anything for Jesus. You have money both in the bank and at home. Some people may even be so careless that their wives don’t know their bank account. If you are like that, if you die now other people will collect your money and your children will suffer. Aren’t you a fool? The reason why I am raising this matter is because Jesus raised it, and it has delivered me from being foolish. Whatever decision must be made should be made now. If you do not invest in people, in salvation of souls and in eternity, what are you investing your life on? The many houses that some of us have built, how many of them do we sleep in at the same time?
Lord, I know how many years I am today. I don’t even know how many years are remaining for me here on earth. I want to invest whatever is remaining in eternal things. Please give me opportunity, open an account for me in heaven, and let my life not be a waste. Help me to do all I could, while I am yet able, to be rich towards you. I don’t want to live my life serving money and other interests. I would not want to spend my life on ordinary politics if it is not to establish God’s kingdom here on earth.
Has God blessed you? Are you very intelligent? Has God allow this ground in your life to bring forth plentifully? How rich are you even in this towards God? You may even be one of the top men in your profession; what will you do with it? How much are you achieving for Jesus out of this, thereby making yourself rich towards God? A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of those things which he possesses. The owner of this life we are presently living may request for it any time. So shall it be for anyone who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God. This is yet another chance for me to change my state towards God. Even for what God will call me at the end of my race here on earth, depends on what will be my response to this promptings from this His sayings!
‘Wise and rich towards God’ or ‘A fool and wretched’, as far as eternity is concern; choose yours!!!
TIMELY WARNING - 8
"A WOMAN ‘S MISTAKE...A WARNING FOR ME!"
The conclusion of the matter of this Timely Warning is:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Matt. 6:21 KJV
This is where the trouble is. If it were possible to keep your treasure in a place and carry your heart somewhere else, it would have been different. But no man has been able to do this. Your treasure and your heart are closely tied. It is not wrong for a man’s heart to be with his treasure. If my treasure therefore determines where my heart is, then I need to be careful where that treasure is because wherever I put it, there my heart will be.
Now Jesus said something again that jolted me so much. I had never looked at it that way before until the Holy Spirit began to show it to me that it was for this same reason that Mrs Lot could not make it to heaven.
Lot lifted up his heart and choose Sodom and Gomorrah and left his uncle Abraham in the dry land. He saw built-up cities and went for them. As if to tell Lot that he had made a mistake, God passed him through an experience at a point. Some kings came and carried away everything in Sodom and Gomorrah including Lot, his wife and children. Lot was left empty handed over night. He cried and cried. Abraham was the one who went and fought and brought him, his children, his wife and his properties back. Lot did not learn his lesson from this. He did not know that where he was staying was a dangerous ground, a place that was already marked out for destruction. It looks to me as if it was his wife that counsel him and said, “Look let’s settle here. Though God has used your uncle to rescue us, yet we cannot afford to go back and settle with him. Besides, your uncle is always going from one place to another; we can’t be going here and there because I am not cut for that.” So they settled back in Sodom and Gomorrah.
When the Angels that God sent to Sodom got there and told Lot saying, “We are going to destroy this place tomorrow. Pack whatever you have in this city; because everything that is in this city, everything that was developed in this city, all the civilization of this city, all the investment of this city, all the factories of this city will be destroyed tomorrow. Whatever you have in this city, carry it.”
They gave him a slim opportunity to escape and a difficult task to perform. He was told to climb a hill and he was to climb it not leisurely but in haste and there was no lift. He was told to pick whatever he had in that city and escape for his life. He must have looked for things he buried under the ground. He probably needed caterpillars to uproot some of them. Lot, as a man, may have just picked one dress and one bag which he was able to carry and told his two daughters to move. He must have called the wife also and said, “Let’s go.” Meanwhile the Angels were waiting for him. I imagine his wife saying, “What do we pick? Let’s pick this, let’s pick that.” Then the husband said, “How can we carry this? It is heavy; have you forgotten that we are going to climb a mountain?” the wife said, “But excuse me, when we get there, what shall we use to cook if we don’t carry this?”
Do you remember what happens whenever you are to travel with your wife? She will say, “We have not taken this, we have to carry that.” It is natural with many women. Lot’s wife must have picked many things. When they were about to carry them, they were too heavy. Lot said, “Look madam, let’s leave this thing. Is life not better than property?” She said, “Well, life is better than property but I need these things there.” The reason is: where your treasure is, there your heart will be. Mrs Lot couldn’t look up to heaven because she had nothing to look forward to there. There are some people who won’t go to heaven because they don’t have anything there. Those who will go to heaven, the Bible say they look forward to it. If there is nothing to look up to in heaven, what is the excitement about going there? Let me tell you something. There is an attraction that takes someone to heaven and when there is nothing that you are looking up to there, sorry, you won’t make it, even if you are a believer. Some Christians will not make it. I am telling you this frankly because the word of God remains forever.
While Lot was climbing and running, the Bible say (in Genesis 19:26) that his wife looked back from behind him. It pains me so much that the husband thought she was following him, not knowing that she had looked back from behind him. Some pastors think that their members are following them to heaven, not knowing that their key members have looked back from behind them. When people look back, you are not likely to know. Many wives have looked back from behind their husband. Many children have looked back from behind their parent. You thought they are going to heaven with you, but they have looked back from behind you.
As soon as Lot’s wife looked back, she became a pillar of salt. The way the Bible describes it, made me to be so afraid that Lot did not discover that his wife had looked back until they got to their destination. They instruction was, “move, don’t look back.” Lot was going, his daughters were also going. They believed that Mummy was also following. It was when they got to the place and settled down that they asked, “Where is Mummy? Where is my wife?” What a pity! She had looked back from behind them. She missed the final destination. She was saved from the fire of Sodom but she never got to the final destination. Brother, have you looked back from behind your leaders? Madam, have you looked back from behind your husband? This was how Lot’s wife became a pillar of salt.
“In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. Remember Lot's wife.”
Luke 17:31-32 KJV
What made Lot’s wife to become a pillar of salt is most likely that she remembered her stuff that she left behind in Sodom. Where your treasure is there will your heart be also. Remember Lot’s wife. If your treasure is in rese arch or business, your heart is there also even now. Nothing else moves you except that. If this is the case, how will one invest his life to possess the eternal treasure in heaven? First and foremost, your heart must go over there. Your heart, focus and emphasis must go over there so that you can send treasures there.
Dear Lord, I have but only one opportunity to live here on earth. Help me to give heed to what you are saying here to me. Don’t let me make an experiment with my life, it is too costly. I have only one life to live and once it is over, there’s no opportunity to remedy even my mistakes! Help my heart always to remember Lot’s wife.
TIMELY WARNING - 7
"Where Am I Storing My Goods?"
“And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.”
Luke 12:13 KJV
Jesus’ response to this man’s simple request remains yet a matter on my heart to keep on chewing. That my Master did not just say to the man, “sorry I cannot interfere in your family conflict; but went ahead to call for caution: “Take Heed and Beware…”, and to illustrate His response with a parable, makes the matter one that I cannot also easily dismissed.
“And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.”
Luke 12:16-18 KJV
“What shall I do? Because I have no room to bestow my fruits.” The rich man’s problem was where to store his goods. He thought and analyzed his difficulty: finally, he came to a conclusion. I wonder what my conclusion would have been. You too, what conclusion would you have reached in your case? It is this quiet conclusion that usually forms the basis of the outward manifestations of our action. This quiet conclusion normally determines our choice, our focus and our direction in life.
The rich man in the Bible said, “This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.” In barns and not in people; not in heaven but in barns. That barn could mean anything. For some, civilization will not allow them to start building barns so they keep their goods in banks. Some would however say, Bank? No, I don’t like banks. Their interest is too small and there could be inflation. I want to put my goods in shares, so that even in ten years’ time, when I would have retired, when the economy would have changed, that is the solid quiet money that would be coming in. I would just relax, sit down and cross my legs and enjoy myself while money comes in. So, the barns could be shares, banks or property development or it could be investing in solid minerals. Some will look for asset that appreciates with years. Some will say, “Let’s invest in a name. Let’s buy that company off the market, so that we can collect their name.” That name could be a barn.
Where am I investing my life? Where am I investing my intelligent and my ability? I need to find out what the pursuit of my life is. Do I quietly desire to possess all that I will need tomorrow, today so that I can secure my future?
Look at what the man said,
“I will say to my soul, Soul…”
When we read it, it appears as if it is not real. Excuse me; don’t you think it is real? Don’t you think these are the kinds of thoughts that have crossed our minds many times? Several things that many of us have done are along this line. That is why you will hear some people say, “…if the government decides to be foolish, I will never be poor again.” The reason is because they believed they have secured their future and so nothing can shake them.
“I will say to my soul: enough of running around. Thou hast much goods laid up for many years,” the man seem to say. Let’s face this fact frankly; how many people are not working in order to have something laid up for many years? What actually is the issue pushing many people up and down? Is it not the desire to have some certain things laid up for many years? As I say this you may be tempted to think that it applies to businessmen only; so you may excuse yourself because you are not a business man. Even you that is a civil servant, what is the reason why you have not resigned despite your complains against how the government is treating workers? What is your thought? Are you not probably saying, quietly in your heart, “Let me just clock thirty years in service so that my gratuity – the reward of working for many years - will increase?”
Why do even Pastors sit tight over their churches, inscribing their names, the names of their wives and their children on the properties- the corporate properties of the church? It is because of the fear of tomorrow. They are quietly thinking, how can I lay my life down in a ministry like this and somebody will just come tomorrow and push me out and my children will have nothing. No! Let’s entrench my name in it. This is the same conclusion, they are but goods laid up for many years.
It is for this reason that Jesus said, “beware of covetousness”. It is capable of killing one. It can make one lose one soul and end up in hell where you never planned. The weight of these instructions is enough to again cause my heart to bow in God’s presence, seeking His divine enablement to escape this hidden pit that may have swallowed many who went ahead of me. None of them ever hoped to end their pilgrim journey where and how they ended but covetousness, who never always come as such, overtook them when they least expected.
Oh dear Lord, please give me light that I may correctly evaluate where I conclude to bestow my fruits. Save me from the deceptiveness of today’s barns. Cause me to know that the fruits coming out of the ground of my life are not really mind but yours, and that I am but a mere steward over all that comes into my hands.
Lives are better place to bestow my fruits than in barns, no matter what such barns may be! This is my conclusion!!
- Clergy Refresher Conference(CLEREC) 2015 -
Theme: "The Effective Minister"
Date: Monday 4th to Friday 8th May, 2015
Venue: Bethany Resort, Peace House Camp, Gboko.
NOTE: This Conference is strictly for the mainline (orthodox) denominations listed in the form. Those not belonging to the listed denominations will not be allowed to participate in the conference. Please call: 08036133629, 08037139774 for clarification if need be.
- Peace House Publications releases new books -
1. "Raising Agents of Transformation"
2. "Becoming Like Jesus" (Reprint)
Copies are available at Peace House Bookshops nationwide.
- New editions of our Journals -
"Livingseed - Vol. 19 No. 1: Sustaining A Progressive Pursuit of God"
"More than Rubbies - Vol. 13 No. 1: The Architect, The Builder and The Building"
are out. Copies available at Peace House Bookshops nationwide.
- Retreat Atmosphere -
Bethany Resort (Peace House Camp) offers you the serene Retreat ATMOSPHERE for Refreshing, Rekindling and personal Revival You can book for group as well as personal usage.