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Stay Calm And Be Strong In Your Faith

 

 

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By Minister Gbenga Ajanaku
New Wine Church, London 

 

 

 

Foundation Scripture: Isaiah 55:7-11

Sunday 14th April 2013

 

Last week, we looked at the signposts on the journey to our promise, understanding the importance of recognising the landmarks on our journey which indicate that we are going in the right direction. We dealt with a number of key questions and concluded that whilst it is God who determines the promise, the location of the promise and indeed, provides the resources that we need for the journey, it is our posture, attitude and readiness that ultimately determines the manner and timing of the fulfilment of the promise. 

 

We understood the ‘four Cs’ of our posture as being key to the fulfilment of our promise namely, consecration being our posture towards God, character as being our posture towards ourselves, conduct, as being our posture towards others and commitment as being our posture towards a cause.

 

Today, I want us to look at the other side of the fulfilment of the promise, namely when we have observed the four Cs and thus entered in to our promise. What do we do when we finally embrace the manifestation of our promise only to discover the emergence of a problem? 

 

In our foundation scripture, Isaiah 55:7-11, we understand that God’s thoughts and ways are different from our thoughts and ways. He readily accepts that we will not understand His way of doing things and therefore when we discover a problem in our promise, He invites us to simply trust Him on the basis that above all, He is loving, He is merciful and He remains faithful. Each time, the Lord mandates us to go forward He does not, in the detail of our journey, reveal the challenges on the way to the promise but only guarantees that He will be with us and will not forsake us. So, along the way, we may go through fire, storm, wilderness and other hostile elements; there is however, a guarantee of God’s presence, His love, His strength and His protection.

 

The Psalmist declared in Psalm 23:4 ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.’ David did not have the love of his father however having faced isolation from the rest of his family and hostility in the form of encounters with both lions and bears, he came to the place of not fearing evil but could testify to the love and comfort of the Lord. The comfort of the Lord is strong and is more real than the pain of any problem. Happiness is dependent on what is happening around you however the joy of the Lord that gives you the strength to go forward comes from within.

 

When the Lord told the children of Israel to go forward, He knew the end of that journey before even the very first step was taken. God knew every detail along the way and the problems they were going to deal with regarding their promise. More importantly, God also knew their temperament and how they were going to react to every situation. You will notice that in Exodus 13, God did not lead the children of Israel on the straight and relatively short journey to the Promised Land. He knew that if they faced opposition, they may change their minds and return to Egypt and therefore He led them along a route through the wilderness. Sometimes you may well wonder why people seem to get very different deals from God. Different people can have very different experiences and yet be measured against the same standard. God knows our DNA and that some will stay the course and others would turn back.

 

A prophetic word may have been spoken to you. By way of confirmation of the word, you dreamed the next level in your dream and were certain beyond all doubt that what you had seen represents the next phase in your life. Indeed, you may even have had powerful witnesses confirming what you believe you had been shown. You may have prayed and fasted and made yourself ready and suddenly as you were about to start on the road, you hit a road block…Or alternatively, you observed all the signposts along the way and finally you got to your promise only to discover that your promise has a problem.

 

Or you may have found yourself in a situation such as Gideon who was minding his own business in the winepress and the word of the Lord searched him out. You were not even expecting the next level nor desiring of a life in the limelight. You were happy the way you were, until God came to interrupt your agenda. He disrupted your well-laid plans to lead a quiet and unassuming life because He has a calling on your life. He has determined a course for your life even before you were even born, one which of course, you have had no idea of. He has made your mouth sharp like a sword but you have gone around thinking that it is for different purpose; He has kept you in the shadow of His hand and made you a polished shaft and has hidden you in His quiver up until this time and now, He wants to shoot you as a strong arrow. He has singled you out as His battle axe and has set you over the nations to root out and to pull down, to destroy and to throw down to plant and to build and you discover that this promise has a problem. What do you do? This is the way I will put it to you: If you are going through Hell, don’t stop! If the devil throws his bait at you, don’t catch it! Tough times may be painful, it is never permanent

 

We face problems in our promise because we have an enemy. This is not a prophecy, it is not a prayer; it is just the truth. Be watchful, guard your promise and wage a good warfare because there is an enemy. In 1 Peter 5: 8 (NLT) he is described as a ‘great enemy who prowls around like a roaring lion looking for a victim to devour’. He is described as ‘great’ not because of his strength, but because of the degree of his opposition to you and that he will never give up trying.  The devil is your enemy; his one and only purpose is to seek to frustrate the will of God.

 

 

Let’s look at this in the story of the woman from Shunem in 2 Kings 4. This was a woman who was kind and hospitable to the Prophet; she was a giver, prominent and rich and because of her disposition to the man of God and her giving, she opened the windows of heaven over her life and walked into the blessing of God without even knowing it. The woman was so comfortable with herself and so content her life that when the prophet asked how he may bless her, she replied that ‘I dwell among my own people’, which means, that she lacked nothing; she was happy, content and satisfied. However, there is a disposition or posture that opens the windows of heaven over your life and the woman had adopted that posture. Her response therefore was not about to stop the prophet because her time had come. “When your time has come, it has come. I declare that this year, 2013, your time will come!”

 

The Prophet Elisha and his servant identified a need which she has masked perfectly over the years: she had no son. We are told in 2 Kings 4: 16-17, the prophet told her, "About this time next year you shall embrace a son." And she said, "No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!"   ‘But the woman conceived, and bore a son when the appointed time had come, of which Elisha had told her’. It did not even matter if she believed or not, the prophet had spoken the word of the Lord. That was the promise. The child of promise grew but suddenly, the promise developed a problem; the child fell ill and died. How do you deal with that? Suddenly, this promise developed a problem.  Maybe you have a similar position today, it could be your marriage, it could be your spouse, your child or business or even your health; despite your worship, your offering and your prayer, there is a problem! You may have cried out and said, ‘God I know what you told me. I know the promise you gave me. I have done everything you asked me to do and I believe you, I trust in you, my hopes lies in you. Why, Lord, why?’

The woman called her husband and asked for a servant and saddled her donkey. Her husband even tried to stop and question her, but all she would say is, ‘It is well’. We all should come to a place that we are able to say It is well’ in the face of adversity.

 

When you see someone who knows purpose and understands destiny, then almost invariably, you see great faith. This woman understood both and indeed displayed great faith. She told her servant to go as fast as he could towards Mount Carmel where she was determined to obtain an answer from the Prophet. Elisha sighted her from a distance and sent his servant Gehazi to enquire if she was fine, but this woman was headed straight to the prophet. Elisha realised that her soul was distressed and asked his servant to leave her alone. The woman must have looked the prophet Elisha in the eye, and said “Did I not tell you that I am in my country amongst my own people?  I just love God and want to be a blessing to Him and His people.” The woman knew that once her promise was handed over to her, this became her inheritance and she knew that God does not break covenant. Gehazi was sent with Elisha’s staff to the boy, but the woman insisted on Elisha coming and once Elisha came, the boy was brought back to life.

 

From this account, we can observe two important truths:  Firstly, the place that your promise was delivered is a place of memorial – The woman went to that room where her promised was delivered and lay the boy in the bed of the Prophet Elisha. Anywhere you received a life changing promise is significant and has a memorial connection to everything that pertains to your promise. Secondly, the woman understood what inheritance was all about. An inheritance is not something that you ask for, it is something that is yours by endowment; it is something bestowed and it is permanent. This woman knew that God had given her an inheritance and refused to allow it to be taken away from her.

 

And so therefore, in conclusion, when you discover a problem in your promise stay calm and be strong in your faith. Know for sure that God, who reigns in the affairs of men, is faithful. Refuse to panic but instead, stay alert, fortify your promise stand firm. The enemy must, and will, retreat! 

 

 

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