GLEANINGS..."A weekly Devotional" by Gbile Akanni
- 27th June, 2016
- 13th June, 2016
- 30th May, 2016
WHEN HE COMES - 10
"Change Your Mentality… Just BELIEVE!"
And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him. Then Thomas , who is called the Twin , said to his fellow disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with Him.
John 11:15-16 NKJV
In this conversation, there are issues we need to thresh for our own learning and for our own sakes. Note this very well. It is not for His own sake, it is not even for Lazarus' sake; it is for our own sakes.... It is for our own benefit.
“Lazarus is dead and I am glad for Your sakes that I was not there ...”
Lord, open Your heart to me on this matter. Grant me the privilege to see as you see. Let me express You aright at this point in Jesus' Name.
“I am glad for your sakes...”
If He was there, there would have been healing but no revival! It would have been a normal routine of ministry. It would have remained a comparative work, after all, even Peter's mother-in-law was sick and she was healed.
What would be new if Lazarus was sick and was healed...? He wanted them to experience a divine dimension of Revival! A different phenomenon entirely, different from routine preaching and healing. It is a Revival - a raising of His friend from the dead, to precede His triumphant entry into Jerusalem; and for us a revival before He comes again in His majestic glory.
There is a matter here that the Holy Spirit wants to unveil to our hearts. If He had been there, Lazarus would not have died. He would not have become anything other than Lazarus of Bethany - a casual brother of Mary! He would bring no glory to Jesus! No one would come specifically to see Lazarus and “the whole world wouldn’t have gone after Jesus”, in the language of the Pharisees, would not have been the case.
There is a way a man can live, serve God and die, without seeing revival in his own days ... his knowledge of Christ's power remains potential but not dynamic. He believes, but there is nothing more to it than mental calculation ... his faith is somewhat active but largely dormant! There is no opportunity to experience the valley of dry bones. The rattling of bones; the coming together of bones to become an army!
LORD, I am glad also that you were not there. It was for my sake! Revival is a glorious privilege that only few men are allowed to experience. Many were born when everything ran smoothly and things were normal! They had no reason to cry! No need for mountains to melt in His presence! No occasion for the earth to quake! No violent conviction that leads to total conversion. Crusades were only organized, arranged, programmed and executed. But a revival is not organized ... it only comes when He, the Resurrection and the Life, comes to the situation of a dying or rather a dead friend. It is a divine action of God rather than the activity of anyone.
Yet look at what the disciples said,
“Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.”
This revealed the way they thought; just as every one of us. We think it is easier to do certain things if the decay hasn't gone too far. To get well from sleep was much more conceivable to their hearts than to rise from the dead. They knew little of their Master's power.
In the same way, our hearts rather seek the easier option. We prefer what we can conceive, see or even handle by ourselves, not knowing the power of God! A divine intervention from heaven in the affairs of men usually defies all human wisdom and calculation. It usually silences all human programmes and projections. This is what He has come to do. It is never too late for Him to act. There is no stage of death and decay that He cannot reverse and revamp. This is purely His own work ... We are just to believe Him to act.
You need to change your mentality. He is not coming to do what any other man or good planners can do. Why will He come if massaging could bring Lazarus to life? Revival is not what a man can organize ... we can only cry and agonize till He comes to do the impossible. It is a rare privilege to see God move swiftly into action changing a death situation unto a vibrant freshness of life.
WHEN HE COMES - 9
"The Determinate Counsel!"
I go that I may wake him up...
John 11:11 NKJV
This is the turning point for Lazarus! Though he lay dead in the cold and chilly tomb... his destiny changed from that moment of divine determination: “But I go that I may wake him up.”
When He says “I am going...” no one can distract Him. No hurdle, no barrier, no river, no gate, no door, no power can stop him. “I am going to wake him up” is such a definite will of God that cannot be hindered. We must touch this in our spirits. Once the disciples heard him say that, those who understood got ready to see God in action again.
They knew once He sets His face to go somewhere, there He will go and there He will arrive: Storms, boisterous winds; demoniacs of Gadara could not stop Him...neither would modern or ancient principalities stop Him now! No government, no ideology, no history and no economy can hinder him.
Look at what He says of Himself:
Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretched forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers: That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid.”
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else, I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from the ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, my counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling the ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. Hearken unto me, ye stout-hearted, that are far from righteousness: I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.
Isa. 46:9-13 KJV
I feel like shouting and jumping around even now. I see death roll away from His Church, just because He has declared, “I am going to wake Him up.”
“Remember the things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done...saying My counsel shall stand and I will do My pleasure. Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man who executes my counsel, from a far country yea I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass: I have purposed it, I will also do it.”
This is He whom we serve. He is the One who has spoken... do not look around or bother yourself for what He would use... He calls forth whatever is needed to accomplish His purpose! No part of the earth is too far and inaccessible to pull anything and anyone from anywhere to bring His purpose to pass. All we need to know is if He has said “I am going to wake him up”... That is all! That is sufficient ... and this is what He has declared in our midst and in our ears! This is the unmistakable word He has sent to us in this year of our labours. He has come to do what no one else could do for His own friend Lazarus. No well is too deep for him to draw from. No situation is beyond His control. At the wedding in Cana of Galilee ... they ran out of their wine. They came to the end of their steam. All hope was gone... but Mary knew Him. She knew what He could do. She knew that nothing gets out of His hand ... She simply put the matter in His hands and left... “Whatsoever He saith to you, do it”... Empty water pots - abandoned and neglected; and ordinary water from the familiar stream at His command came together to become sweet wine.
Let not unbelief strangulate you! While you must repent of all former presumptuous running to Bethany while He still stayed where he was; shouting when He had uttered no phrase; fussing here and there, while Judea was then His focus; stumbling around in the night, while He took time to ascertain divine timing - your past failure has no bearing with Him. You failed because he wasn't ready to act then. But NOW! He has risen to go to wake up His friend. Do not let your past overwhelm you. He was not there then. He was not coming then ... You thought 'faith confession' would bring Him and compel Him to walk out of the light of His day... You were presumptuous! Now, it is not the suggestion of a man. It is not even our prayers. We prayed and our brother 'Lazarus' still died! We worked, we medicated him here and there. We formed teams and gangs ... He still decayed. This time, He is the One who is speaking... He declared His own intention by Himself. You'd better believe so you can be in His entourage for revival, if not He will still go. It is time for Him to do so! Hallelujah.
Watch this! Even the whole system of the universe will stand still for Him to achieve His purpose. Policies of world governments may alter for this to happen. Anything may happen, He will fulfill His counsel.
For me, it is a new dawn! It is different now. There is a change of roles for me. It has started already! It cannot be explained by human wisdom. I write this to you, that you may know how to behave yourself in this crucial hour of divine take-over! I am not writing so that it can happen, it will happen with or without all these ... it is just for you to learn how to behave yourself henceforth.
“I am going that I may wake Him up...”
It is a determinate counsel! “Four days in the grave! Behold, by now he stinketh” was the cry of Martha who believed not! You may be in the class of Martha today. You quietly say ''we are being too presumptuous, surely.” What if it does not happen? Will it not be like the other prophecies of men? Don't worry! Wait and you will see! But if you believe, you will not only see the glory of God, you will be a partaker of it and a servant of that glorious outburst. No one spoke to Him! Everyone was silent. No one even asked questions again. He had silenced all their eagerness when He told them of stumbling if you don't walk in the light of your day and out of the uneasy quietness. He spoke up:
“Lazarus, our friend sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.”
They were not even excited ... They said “Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.” They were not expecting “resurrection from the dead.” Haste had left them ... They were tired of being anxious!
“Then Jesus said to them plainly, Lazarus is dead.'’
WHEN HE COMES - 8
"The mystery of the resurrection life!"
Let us learn to do what each time-pace is meant to accomplish. Let us walk within the light of His presence. Genuine ministry is only in this matter: walking with Him; staying where He stays; going behind Him either into Judea or into Bethany... facing what He faces at a particular time.
Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world, But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.
John 11:9-10 NKJV
What a matter we must note in our labours in the ministry. If any man walks in the day, he does not stumble... he does not make mistakes... he does not hit his head against a wall. Every 'day' of a man's ministry comes with a bright light for what to do. It is not working miracles or doing wonders that is very significant here; it is walking in the light of 'your' day!
If Jesus had rushed to Lazarus' bed side, earlier than the divine time, He would have stumbled... He would heal Lazarus from his sickness but that healing would at best be a stumbling. How many times our so called 'breakthroughs' have actually been our stumbling in ministry. We have so stumbled that we could not bring the utmost and the ultimate glory to the SON, through our labours.
How we need to learn this firmly from our LORD as we face the days ahead in our service to the LORD and to His friend “Lazarus”.... LORD, deliver us from this 'stumbling', which is so easy for us to fall into. Teach us to know your purpose, your timing and Your strategy henceforth.
Do you wonder at His delay to grant you the miracle for which you have prayed? Do you query His love and care, as He remains silent over your case? Are you ebbing away in the fervency of your faith because of this conflict? How can I be sure He still loves me while I struggle all alone in this valley of the shadow of death? Has He forgotten me for the devil to devour? Question upon Questions! There must have been several similar questions on Lazarus' mind before he finally bowed out unto death. Martha could have doubted His love for her and thought on whether she had offended Him and He decided to square up by neglecting her cry for her brother Lazarus. Sympathizers may have unwittingly concluded that “this friend of yours is not a friend in need and hence not a friend indeed.” Yet, His delay was not a denial. It was for the Son of man to be glorified among men.
It was not to kill you. The long barrenness in your marriage or in your ministry despite that you have raised urgent alarm to heaven is not a denial. It is to bring forth the ultimate and the utmost glory of God in your life. Hannah cried and wept for years. She watched her rival Peninnah deliver babies like a pig. She endured the sarcastic comments and the disloyalty of her husband until the Lord remembered her. Her son, Samuel was the only son of Elkanah known and reckoned by name in all the several generations ever since. He was the one, ordained and established a prophet and priest in Israel. This “sickness” is not unto death; it is for the glory of God! Though He tarries, wait for Him... He that shall come, shall come. Job almost became a skeleton. He seemed to have lost all, even friends and believers misunderstood his stand with God... “God could not have kept mute and watched His beloved waste away like this”, they must have said among themselves. Joseph languished in the prison for thirteen years, while the Word of the LORD tried him in preparation for the place of utmost fulfillment and glory. (Ps. 105:17-22)
Yet at the appointed time, God came! He came for him. Overnight Joseph was placed on the second chariot of Pharaoh in Egypt. His former master and owner - Portiphar - became his chief protocol- running ahead of him shouting “Bow the knee! Bow the knee!”
Resurrection only comes at the tomb of death! Could He be waiting until all of your self-life; self-energy; self-wisdom; self-effort, self-strategy, self- acclaim; self- activity; self-advertisement and all that is of the flesh dies, so He can use you to bring glory to God among men? For Lazarus to sit and become a reason for men to gather to the Lord, he must die! The Lord must wait for death to have its full work, so that life can be made manifest in us...
Alway bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then death works in us, but life in you.
2Cor. 4:10-12 KJV
This is the mystery of the resurrection life:
Except the corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone...
John 12:24 KJV
Death is the basis of every ministry that will bring glory to God through any man! Death to your personal ambition; death to your personal opinion and to public opinion; death to fame; death to females and death to finance! Death to personal promotion; death to the platform and death to performance. Death to your rights; and death to your claims, so that He can raise you an object of His glory and a vessel of honour in His kingdom....
All who bore Him significantly among men have come forth from the tomb of death. Except you have been put away by men, God cannot put you up on His platform. This kind of death must work within your cells before He can call you forth into the glamour of divine service. All who hope to become vessels of glory and bring joy and revival to their community and to their generations must come down to this Jordan of death! It is the cup and the baptism all candidates for a glorious service must take. If he still tarries in your own case, look out for the aspect of your self-life that is refusing this baptism.