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GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni

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  • 9th April, 2016
  • 25th April, 2016
  • 11th APRIL, 2016

WHEN HE COMES - 7

"Why Jesus Delayed"

While His love for His Church (Lazarus) is not in doubt, His action raised a conflict - in several hearts. This is probably because we cannot see as He sees. Our own understanding of love and care is from a different lens other than His own.

“So when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was. Then after this He said to the disciples, “let us go to Judea again."
John 11:6-7 NKJV

This is very confusing, more so that the scripture pointed out that “So when He heard that he was sick,” it was not deliberate. It was not because He was ignorant of Lazarus' sickness nor the pains and the decay that crept all over him... He knew that Lazarus was facing dark moments, yet He stayed two more days in the place where He was... He stayed put. He remained unmoved and unnerved about the urgent message sent to Him by sisters Mary and Martha whom He also loved. Isn't it a conflict in our hearts that we have prayed and fasted for the LORD to intervene in the decaying situation of the Church - in several lands - most especially in Europe, yet He stayed away? He kept facing other directions, as it were. It is painful that many intercessors cried to the LORD at the very beginning of the sickness and He stayed away until this moment when everything is dead and stinking. Some wept sore, looking on the way, if He would suddenly appear... He did not come until they also fell asleep. Others got frustrated and began to deny the genuineness of His love. They became embittered against the LORD and the Word of His promise. We have had many questions, many dark moments, many doubts; simply because of His delay. Many of us have had to review our theology and have quietly deleted any hope of revival. We went into the theory of “dispensationalism” and fatalism. We concluded that this is the apostasy prophesied about. Others felt, God is not going to revive these old Churches anymore; let us better begin new ones. All of these are because we did not see as He sees. His thoughts are not our thoughts. His ways are not our ways. We see dimly, He knows the end from the beginning. Look at what he saw concerning this situation, and what He still says about His church even today.

“When Jesus heard that, He said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it."
John 11:4 NKJV

This sickness is not unto death! And that is the verdict from Him who Himself is the Resurrection and the Life. He calls the things that are not as though they were. He speaks to wombs that were long barren and there springs forth life. It is enough to see His own perspective. This sickness that has come upon us ( and upon His Church severally) is not unto death - Modernism, Secularism, Pluralism, Humanism, Socialism, Communism, Hinduism and all the 'isms' you can coin out that have come like germs and infections against the Church in our time. They are biting so hard. Some have even gone so deep into the fabrics of the church leadership, attacking her from her very roots. Every passing day it seems this sickness will finish Christ's Church. But, let me re-echo this again as I hear my LORD declare very firmly: “This sickness is not unto death.” “The gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.” He is coming for a victorious and glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle.

“...But for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

This deadness is not the end of the story. There is a glory coming forth: the glory of God in our uttermost weakness. Roses come forth brightly out of thorns. Light shines brightest in the darkest darkness. Even in this complicated situation all over the world, the Son of God will be glorified.

First, we must note that this was His first comment as He heard that Lazarus was sick. He saw the end from the beginning. The end of the matter is what matters most...and it is that the Son of God will be glorified through it. Even as we follow the LORD Jesus into the ministry of waking up His friend Lazarus, we must do so with our eyes and our hearts fixed on the end he has in mind. Whatever intervening conflicts we find; whatever stiffness has come upon His Body; whatever disintegration has taken place is not the end of the story. We must learn to see as He sees, so we can walk along with Him as calmly as He would. Though we would love to rush on to the scene and perform some acrobatics... He takes firm steps in divine timing, with confident knowledge of the end before it all began. It is wonderful to gain a deep insight into the heart of the LORD. The Church is not going to die out... She will spring forth again and the Son of God will be glorified on earth, even through the Church.

“...That the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

This “Lazarus” (the church) must still play a key role in bringing glory to the Son of God. She would silence the gainsayers and subdue the principalities, while by her and through her “the Son” shall be glorified.

Let this settle in your heart, my beloved brother and sister. Those who labour in God's vineyard must do so with this assurance. There is going to be a revival: a rising up; a breaking forth from the tomb; a rolling away of stones and tearing away of grave clothes... a gathering of men and women into the kingdom, because of the revival of this “Lazarus” - the Church. Even if “Jesus stayed two more days in the place where He was,” let us just follow Him confidently. Wherever He goes now and whatever He goes back to Judea to do, let us follow Him... this is the point of trial for several of us... can we follow Him back into Judea again... can we endure staying while He stays two more days at the same spot, as if he is stagnant? Can we endure a seeming dryness in ministry while we watch our “Lazarus”- friend and brother die? We may be tempted to rush and try to do some more massaging, just to satisfy our emotions that we are doing something. Yet, our only wisdom is to stay where He stays, to go to any Judea He wishes to go back into until He is ready to go and wake up His friend.

I pray that henceforth, I will only walk in step with Him. Even if I go ahead of Him, I can only shake the dead body and do no more... His coming is the answer to this death... He knows what to do and when to do it.

WHEN HE COMES - 6

"Calvary…the gateway into our unbroken communion"

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the LORD with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold He whom You love is sick."
John 11:1-3 NKJV

The basis of our petition for Him to come in power and in revival is not because of us. It is because “he whom You love is sick.” We must always and ever appeal to His love for His Church, in every intercession we make. If our motivation for sending for Him is different from the fact of his unending, undying and unwavering love for His Church, we may be found bragging, boasting, beating our chest and flogging the brethren with the result of our ministries. If our prayers are answered and He comes in grace and power to visit His people, it is because of His love for His Bride, it would not be because we did anything. It was actually His grace at work within our hearts that brought us what we are doing in the vineyard. The breastplate on our hearts as we beseech Him to come in power to visit our land again must be the breastplate of love. It is love within our hearts for the Church that must motivate every labour we put into the vineyard service.

“For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus; that if One died for all, then all died..."
2Cor. 5:14 NKJV

Our labour must be compelled by His love that took Him to Calvary. Our plea for revival must be based on “he whom you love is sick.” Our expectation of His coming to revive and restore His friend is purely based on His love! Our holiness; our friendship with Him and our dutifulness cannot draw Him an inch... He will only come because of his love. While we must not take His loving kindness for granted, we still must remember it is his love and goodness that leads us unto repentance (Rom. 2:4).

“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins."
1John 4:10 KJV

And

“He that spared not His own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Rom. 8:32 KJV

This is the basis of our expectation. Nothing good will He withhold from him whom he loves. He did not love us because we loved Him first. His love for us is not reciprocal of any love we had shown. Hence, it cannot be withdrawn because of anything we have done. Even in His withdrawal from a sinner or a backslider, it is in order for him or her to feel thirsty of that love again. It is that we might seek Him and His love. He never desires the death of a sinner. Until a sinner dies in his sin, the Master's love remains undying towards Him. The death of a sinner is a personal loss to our Lord! Even at the cross, the thief that acknowledged his sin still found pardon and a place in His bosom of love.

Peter backslid and denied the LORD thrice before the cock crew twice. He went back afishing, thus leading other disciples away from the great commission He left for them after all His labour on their lives... His love drew Him back to the seaside in search of His beloved... He met their physical needs. He laid fish on fire for them. He showed them the right side in which to cast their net. And rather than a sharp rebuke and discipline for Peter, the ring leader, he only called him aside with a tender love in His tone.

“...Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?"
1John 4:10 KJV

It was love He sued for in Peter. It was the love Peter saw in His Master that broke him into tears and led him into a lifelong commitment. It was love for Himself that Jesus regarded as the reason and basis for labouring on “My sheep.” Friend, while we look at him whom Jesus loves... as you lift up your eyes, do you not see love for you in His face? No matter how prodigal you have been... His love for you remains unabated. Until you die, He will never stop loving you! His love is the reason for His outstretched arm unto you today. His love is the reason why He has remained quiet and longsuffering, as if He condones your misbehaviour! Arise, the Master calleth you!

While the prodigal son was still afar off - afar off from holiness; afar off from righteousness... the father saw him and ran for him. He fell on his neck and kissed his dirty mouth. There is still the best robe in His wardrobe of love... He still reserves the “ring” - symbol of His covenant love - for you... the fatted calf can still be slaughtered. He has been sorrowful over your life in the wilderness of sin... the rags that sin and Satan has now clothed you with is not His desire! The best robe is still in store for you. Come now! Rise and come! Lift up your eyes from your failure. Look unto Him, who for your sake “hangeth” upon the tree. Calvary is the basis of our redemption. Calvary is still the reason for our restoration. Calvary will still remain the gateway into our unbroken communion with Him.

WHEN HE COMES - 5

"LAZARUS: Heaven’s Beloved!"

“Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary who anointed the LORD with fragrant oil and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, Lord, behold He whom You love is sick."
John 11:1-3 NKJV

This background is very necessary for us to position our hearts aright, as we seek to see Christ's position in regard to what we are praying for.

“Lord, behold he whom you love is sick.”

We need to first and foremost appreciate the fact that the “Lazarus” who is sick is actually “he whom You love.” We may over-zealously omit this fact. We may even presume that Jesus must have so many faults against the Church to the extent that He may have withdrawn His love from her. We may capitalize on this 'sickness' to the extent of concluding that He must have been fed up with His Church. Yes! Lazarus is sick - sick with all kinds of spots and every kind of sin and compromise. Sick and dying, yet loved and still beloved. It must dawn on our hearts that “Jesus... having loved his own... loved them to the end.” John 13:1b.

One reason why we must expect him to come to the rescue of His Church from this current sickness is because it is “he whom He loves.” The love of God for His Church on earth is very central to His enduring patience and persistent desire to raise men and to send them with fresh anointing to call His Church back to order. Even when He rebukes, it is the manifestation of His love. When He chastises, it is because of His love. His compassion on His church is a very strong motivation for us to expect Him to visit us again.

“Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister, and Lazarus."
11:5 NKJV

“Jesus wept”

Then the Jews said,

“See how He loved him."
11:36 NKJV

Again and again, His love for Lazarus was emphasized. “Now” - even in this sickness; in the present weakness of Lazarus, Jesus loved him. He loved all the ministers who laboured on the dying Lazarus. Martha ministered to him (in her own way); Mary was ministering to him; others just nursed him; others diagnosed his sickness; some ran to doctors, others were sent to call Jesus several miles away in Judea. All these were ministers to Lazarus in his trying and sick moment. I want to say with confidence that Jesus loves and appreciates every man who is seeking the recovery and restoration of Lazarus (His Church) since He Himself loves Lazarus.

As we do whatever falls to us to do in the ministry to the Church, we must do so with a clear perspective...it must be with this understanding that we are handling “he whom Jesus loves.” Every time you touch a soul for God, be it in the Sunday School or in the Adult Class; be it in the urban city or in the rural remote villages of the world, if they be called by His name, you must do so with this note firmly in your heart that you are... handling the beloved of the Lord, “the apple of His eyes.”


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Never Say Enough By Brother Gbile Akanni .
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09/05/2016 - Encounter With Jesus; The Samaritan Woman.
By Gbile Akanni

Book of the month

BILL BOARD

Praise God for yet another year which the grace of God has brought us into. This year is particularly critical for us since it comes with our daybreak. The Lord specifically announced to us during the Ministers’ Leadership Retreat (MLR) in Gboko in December 2015 that the day breaks. 2016 therefore is the year that our daybreak has ushered us into. And we say, to God be the glory.

Every daybreak comes with a demand for each man unto whom such a day has broken to respond to. Lack of understanding on how to respond has always been the reason why many waste their day, but thank God that He did not leave us without instructions on how we ought to respond to this our daybreak. He said to us:

“Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” (Isa 60:1 NKJV)

Behold! The days are already running; we must stir up ourselves and match obedience with this instruction which God gave us, least we waste our light which has come already! This is a charge, not a suggestion. It is a command that needs our willingness to obey.

As we welcome you this year to this website, which is but a fellowship point for us all, we pray that God will find each of us standing on our different lampstands where He has located us at the moment, ready to give light to all that are around us. Amen.

God bless you.

Living Seed Sitekeeper.

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