Are We Prepared to Tell God’s Story?

by Regis Nicoll | Each year Advent draws the world’s attention afresh to God’s story. It’s a story that Christians should be telling “in season and out of season,” through their words and their lives.

It seems peculiar that the gospel reading for the first Sunday of Advent centers not on Christ’s first coming, but his second. In all three liturgical years, the gospel passage is taken from the Olivet Discourse—Jesus’s lengthy response to the eschatological curiosities of the disciples. But maybe this is not as peculiar as it seems.

In arresting prose, the synoptic writers report the Creator of all things privileging the disciples with secrets about last things. Interweaving predictions about the destruction of Jerusalem and his future return to earth, Jesus tells them of wars, famines, false Christs, and more. His purpose was not to shock or frighten them, but to prepare them—and not just for the far off events that had provoked their curiosity.

Punctuating his revelations are warnings to be watchful, ready, and engaged in faithful service—imperatives for God’s people in every age. But for the disciples those warnings had immediate relevance which, as many times before, went unheeded.

For, in a matter of hours, Jesus would be prostrate in the garden praying, while his disciples slept; he would be hauled away by an angry mob, while his disciples fled in panic; he would be brought before a kangaroo court to be ridiculed, spat upon, and struck, while one of his closest intimates vehemently and repeatedly denied him; and he would be scourged, marched to Golgotha, and nailed to the cross, while men who had been his constant companions cowered in an upper room, abandoning him to his persecutors.

Incredibly, after three years at the feet of their master, the disciples were no better prepared for the unfolding of prophetic history than they were at the beginning of their tutelage. This should trigger questions in us: Are we prepared? Situated in history between the Incarnation and the Parousia, are we advancing his kingdom as we watch for his return?

More to the point, are we even expecting his return? Given the 2,000 year lapse, have his warnings slipped into the cluttered closets of our memory or, worse, has the delay eroded our confidence in his prophesy or, for that matter, in him?

If those questions cause hesitation, it signals the need to revisit God’s story—the biblical record of divine activity throughout the course of human history. The historical record of what God has done provides a rational basis for confidence in what he has said he will do.

Playing Back God’s Story
Reading the history of Israel is like listening to a CD stuck on “repeat.” Over and over again, widespread apostasy led to divine discipline, provoking national repentance followed by a brief period of revival.

Despite the withering warnings of prophets, the Israelites repeatedly succumbed to pagan influences when they should have been attending to God’s word, they adopted pagan practices when they should have been transforming pagan culture, and they became a stumbling block to their pagan neighbors when they should have been a blessing to them.

To break the cycle, Israel’s leaders continually played back God’s story, reminding the people of God’s benevolence toward the nation: the parting of the Red Sea, the pillars of cloud and fire, water from the rock, manna from heaven, deliverance from their enemies, and the conquest of the Promised Land, to name just a few.

The leaders also proclaimed prophesies, hundreds of them, among the people. Some were given as warnings about the consequences of disobedience while others were given as assurances of God’s ultimate plan for restoring all things.

Two things are extraordinary about the latter: first, they were made far in advance of the events they described; and, second, many of the fulfillments of prophecy—including dozens concerning the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus—were recorded and passed on to people contemporary to those events.

From Public to Personal
God’s story is more than a record of past and future works on behalf of mankind; it includes personal testimonies of his working in the lives of individuals in the present.

Daniel, who prophesied about events in the near and far future, gave witness to God’s faithfulness in the present—answering his prayers and delivering him and his friends from capital punishment. In the Psalms, David repeatedly praises God for guiding, protecting, and strengthening him. Jeremiah’s lamentations over the sins of Judah and the destruction of Jerusalem include praises to God for comforting him during imprisonment and rescuing him from his enemies.

Nevertheless, spiritual vacillation produced a generation that was ill-prepared for the coming Messiah. Instead of watching for the Lamb of God who would deliver them from sin, first-century Jews were expecting a conquering King who would deliver them from Gentile subjugation.

A generation later, eyewitnesses to the life and ministry of Jesus Christ detailed, in four independent narratives, how he fulfilled the promises in Scripture from Genesis 3:15 to Malachi 3:1. And for those who failed to notice, Paul explained how the fulfillments of prophecy occurred among individuals, still living, who could contest any fictions or correct any errors.

Like the Old Testament writers, Paul also shared how God’s story had played out in his own life. In his letter to the Romans, Paul gives witness to Jesus for freeing him from the law of sin and death. He told the Corinthian church how God had encouraged and strengthened him during a time of personal torment. And to the Philippians, Paul testifies to his Source of contentment and efficacy in all things.

The gospel readings for the first Sunday of Advent remind us that God’s story did not end at Golgotha, the death of the apostles, or the completion of Scripture, but continues on the cosmic stage.

They also remind us that Christians are to be an expectant people, living in the sure hope that as God “showed up” once, he will show up again. Until then, he is active in the lives of individuals who are waiting, watching, and working to establish his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

A Personal Testimony
Most Christians can point to times in their lives when God “showed up”—maybe in an answered prayer, a healing, an encouraging word, or a needed revelation. Throughout my Christian life, I have had a number of such occurrences, of which I’ll share one.

I had been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. My timeline, according to the oncologist, was three weeks. But three weeks turned into three months, then three years, and now, ten years after being declared in clinical remission, I remain cancer-free.

Prior to that declaration, however, two questions hung in the air like the scent of decaying flesh: “Why did this happen?” and “How will it turn out?” I had a strong inkling as to the “why” (as I’ll explain in a moment), but the uncertainty of “how” lingered. Then, one night, both questions were answered for me along with a room full of people.

Joanne and I had joined a group of twenty or so intercessors for an evening of prayer. As we got ready to pray, someone suggested, off the cuff, that we read Psalm 118, which in my NIV Bible has the rather inviting heading, “The loving kindness of God.” It was further suggested that each person read a verse, in succession, according to how they were seated. Since our seating was not prearranged, neither was the verse individuals would read.

As it so happened, my turn fell on verse 18: “The Lord has chastened me severely, but he has not given me over to death.” The words left my lips and, for a moment, failed to register in my brain. When the next person seated failed to continue, I looked around. It was as if all the oxygen had been sucked from the room: mouths were agape, chests were clutched, eyes were tearing, and praises were going up. Then, I, too, was undone.

Earlier in the year, I had confessed to a church class that the greatest obstacle to my spiritual growth was overconfidence in myself. Less than one month later, I was lying in a hospital bed tethered to IVs, listening to an oncologist talk around the hopelessness of my condition, and coming to the realization that this “thorn” was beyond my ability and that of medical science to remove.

The shock of my utter helplessness was met, almost instantly, by a comforting word: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Privately, the message was clear: God was addressing my greatest need—total dependence on him—with his limitless love. Publicly, this message was confirmed to a small gathering of individuals who were watching and waiting for God to “show up.”

Each year Advent draws the world’s attention afresh to God’s story. It’s a story that Christians should be telling “in season and out of season,” through their words and their lives.

Regis NicollRegis Nicoll is a retired nuclear engineer and a fellow of the Colson Center who writes commentary on faith and culture. His new book is titled Why There Is a God: And Why It Matters.


The Essential Elements of Christian

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”—Matt, v. 6 (Bible Study Tools)

INHERE are a great many things in the experience of Christians, which, traced out in their natural history, are exceedingly interesting. I have been struck to notice how very commonly what is peculiar to Christian experience drops out of the mind; while that which is merely incidental remains, and constitutes the mind’s entire conception of what religion is. Their way of talking of their experience leaves you quite in the dark as to its genuineness, even when they propose to give you especially the reasons of their hope.

My design is first to state some of the facts which belong to the life of God in the soul.

i. Hunger and thirst are states of mind, and do not belong to the body. They are of two kinds, natural and spiritual. The objects on which the natural terminates are food and drink. By our very constitution these are necessary to our well-being in the present world. These appetites are natural and terminate on their appropriate objects.

There are also spiritual hunger and spiritual thirst, which are as truly natural as the former. It is no more a figure of speech to use these terms in this case than in the other.

The appetites that demand food and drink are facts and experiences. Everybody knows what it is to have them, and everybody knows in general what those things are which are so related to the human constitution as to meet those demands.

So also the spiritual appetites are not. less things of fact and experience, and stand in like manner related to the objects which are adapted to the demand.

2. Sin is a fact in the natural history of our race. That it is so, must be attributed to the fall of our first parents. Yet whatever explanation be given of the introduction of sin into the human family, it now exists as an undeniable fact.

Some attention to the manner in which sin is first developed, may serve to show its relations to what I have called the natural history of the race.

We all know it to be a fact that the natural appetites commence their development immediately after the natural birth. The first awakening to a conscious existence in this world seems to be, if not Occasioned by, yet closely connected with, a constitutional demand for food. The alternations of’ demand and supply commence and go on while health continues—all the time developing the strength of this class of appetites. Commonly the natural make their development far in advance of the spiritual.

Not much is said in the Bible as to the mode in which sin entered our world and acquired such relations to the human soul, but it is distinctly referred to Adam’s first sin, and is asserted to be in some way connected with that event. Facts show that sin has become in a most significant sense natural to the race, so that they all spontaneously, not of necessity, yet spontaneously, if no special grace interpose, begin to sin as soon as they begin to act morally, or in other words, as soon as they become capable of moral action. Not that men are born sinners, not that they sin before they are born, not that sin is born in them, nor that they are be* yond their control born into sin; but yet the constitution of the man—body and mind—is such, and the law of development is such, that men sin naturally (none the less voluntarily, responsibly, and guiltily), but they all sin of free choice; the temptations to sin being developed in advance of those intellectual and moral powers which should counteract the excessive demands of the sensibility. Mark the developments of the new-born child. Some pain or some appetite awakens its consciousness of existence, and thus is created a demand for the things it •perceives itself to need. Then the little infant begins to struggle for good—for that particular good which its new-developed sensibility demands. Want, the struggling demand for supply, and the gratification, form a process of development which gives such power to the sensibility as generates ere long an intense selfishness; and before the conscience and the reason are perceptibly developed, have laid the foundation for spiritual death. If the Spirit of God does not excite spiritual wants and arouse the mind to efforts in obtaining them, the mind becomes so engrossed and its sensibilities acquire such habits of control over the will, that when the idea of right and wrong is first developed the mind remains dead to its demands. The appetites have already secured the ascendancy. The mind seems to act as if scarcely aware that it has a soul or any spiritual wants. The spiritual consciousness is at first not developed at all. The mind seems not to know its spiritual relations. When this knowledge first forces itself upon the mind, it finds the ground pre-occupied, the habits fixed, the soul too much engaged for earthly good to be called off. The tendency of this law of development is altogether downward; the appetites become more and more despotic and imperious; the mind has less and less regard for God. The mind comes into a state in which spiritual truth frets and chafes it, and of course it thoroughly inclines to spiritual apathy—choosing apathy, though not unaware of its danger

before the perpetual annoyance of unwelcome truths. This tends toward a state of dead insensibility to spiritual want.

The first symptom of change is the soul’s awaking to spiritual consciousness. Sometimes this is feeble at first, or sometimes it may be more strongly aroused to its spiritual relations, position, and wants. This brings on anxiety, desire, a deep sense of what the soul truly needs. From this arises an influence which begins to counteract the power of appetite. It begins to operate as a balance and check to those long unrestrained demands.

Here you may notice that just in proportion as the spiritual consciousness is developed, the mind becomes wretched, for in this proportion the struggle becomes intense and violent. Before, the man was dead. He was like an animal as to the unchecked indulgence of appetite—above the mere animal in some things, but below in others. He goes on without that counteracting influence which arises from the spiritual consciousness. You see some who live a giddy, aimless life. They seem not at all aware that they have a spiritual nature or any spiritual wants. When they awake to spiritual consciousness and reflection, conviction produces remorse and agony. This spiritual struggle, at whatever age it may occur, is in its general character the same as occurs in the infant when its spiritual consciousness is first awakened.

It is but natural that when the spiritual faculties are aroused, men will begin to pray and struggle under a deep sense of being wrong and guilty. At first this may be entirely selfish. But before conversion takes place, there will be a point in which the counter influences of the selfish against the spiritual will balance each other, and then the spiritual will gain the ascendancy. The animal and the selfish must relatively decline and the spiritual gain strength, till victory turns on the side of the spiritual powers. How commonly do you observe that when the mind becomes convicted of sin, the attractions of the world fade away; all it can give looks small; sinners can no longer take the pleasure in worldly things they once had. Indeed, this is a most curious and singular struggle. How rapid and great are the changes through which the sinner passes! To-day, he quenches the light of God in his soul, and gropes on in darkness; to-morrow the light may return and reveal yet greater sin; one day he relapses back to worldliness, and gives up his soul to his own thoughts and pleasures; but ere another has passed, there is bitterness in this cup and he loathes it, and from his soul cries out: This can never satisfy an immortal mind! Now he begins to practice upon external reformation; but anon he finds that this utterly fails to bring peace to his soul. He is full of trouble and anxiety for salvation, yet all his struggles thus far have been entirely selfish, and ere he is converted he must see this to be the case. He is in a horrible pit of miry clay. The more he struggles the deeper he sinks and the more desperate his case becomes. Selfish efforts for spiritual relief are just like a quagmire of thick clay. Each struggle plunges the sinking man the deeper in the pit. The convicted man is ready to put himself to hard labor and mighty effort. At first he works with great hope of success, for he does not readily understand why selfish efforts will not be successful. He prays, but all in a selfish spirit. By this I mean that he thinks only of himself. He has no thought of honoring or pleasing God—no thought of any benefit to his fellow-beings. He does not inquire whether his course of life and state of heart are such that God can bless him without detriment to the rest of His great family. In fact, he does not think of caring for the rest ot that family nor for the honor of its great Father. Of course, such selfish praying brings no answer; and when he finds this to be the case, he frets and struggles rnore than ever. Now he goes on to add to his works and efforts. He attends more meetings, and reads his Bible more, and tries new forms of prayer. All is in vain. His heart is selfish still. What can I do? he cries out in agony; if I pray I am selfish, and if I desist from prayer, this too is selfish; if I read my Bible or neglect to read it, each alike is selfish, and what can I do? How can I help being selfish?

Alas, he has no idea of acting from any other or higher motive than his own interests. It is his darkness on this very point that makes the sinner’s struggle so long and so unprofitable. This is the reason why he can not be converted at once, and why he must needs sink and flounder so much longer in the quagmire of unavailing and despairing works. It is only when he comes at last to see that all this avails nothing, that he begins to take some right views of his case and of his relations. When he learns that indeed he can not work out his own salvation by working at it on this wise he bethinks himself to inquire whether he be not all wrong at bottom—whether his motives of heart are not radically corrupt. Looking round and abroad, he begins to ask whether God may not have some interests and some rights as well as himself. Who is God and where is He? Who is Jesus Christ and what has He done? What did He die for? Is God a great King over all the earth, and should He not have due honor and homage? Was it this great God who so loved the world as to give His Son to die for it? O, I see I have quite neglected to think of God’s interests and honor! Now I see how infinitely mean and wicked*I have been! Plainly enough, I can not live so. No wonder God did not hear my selfish prayers. There was no hope in that sort of effort, for I had, as I plainly see, no regard to God in anything I was doing then. How reasonable it is that God should ask me to desist from all my selfish endeavors and to put away this selfishness itself, and yield myself entirely and forever to do or suffer all His blessed will!

// is done; and now this long-troubled soul sinks into deep repose. It settles itself down at Jesus’ feet, content if only Christ be honored and God’s throne made glorious. The final result—whether saved or lost—seems to give him no longer that agonizing solicitude; the case is submitted to the Great Disposer in trustful humility. God will do all things well. If He takes due care of His own interests and glory, there will be no complaining—nothing but deep and peaceful satisfaction.

In the case of most young converts, this state of peaceful trust in God is subject to interruptions. The natural appetites have been denied—their dominion over the will disowned; but they are not dead. By and by they rise to assert their sway. They clamor for indulgence, and sometimes they get it. Alas, the young convert has fallen into sin! His soul is again in bondage and sorrow. O, how deeply is he mortified to think that he has again given away to temptation, and pierced the bosom on which he loved to recline! He had promised himself he should never sin, but he has sinned, and well for him if he finds no heart to evade or deny the fact. Better admit it all, and most freely, although it wounds his heart more than all his former sins. Mark his agony of spirit! His tears of repentance were never before so bitter! He feels disappointed, and it almost seems to him that this failure must blast all his plans and hopes of leading a Christian life. It does not work as he thought it would. He feels shy of God; for he says, How can God ever trust me again after such developments of unfaithfulness. He can hardly get himself to say a word to God or to Christ. He is almost sure that he has been deceived. But finally he bethinks himself of the Cross of Calvary, and catches a faint ray of light—a beam of the light of love. He says, There may be mercy for me yet! I will at least go to Jesus and see. Again he goes, and again he falls into those arms of love and is made consciously welcome. The light of God shines on his soul again, and he find himself once more an accepted son in his. Father’s presence.

But here a new form of desire is awakened. He has learned something of his own weakness and has tasted the bitterness of sin. With an agony of interest never known before, he asks, Can I ever become established in holiness? Can I have righteousness enough to make me stand in the evil day? This is a new form of spiritual desire, such as our text expresses in the words “hunger and thirst after righteousness/’

These extended remarks are only an introduction to my general subject, designed to get before your mind the true idea of hungering and thirsting after righteousness. This state of mind is not merely conviction; it is not remorse, nor sorrow, nor a struggle to obtain a hope or to get out of danger. All these feelings may have preceded, but the hungering after righteousness is none of these. It is a longing desire to realize the idea of spiritual and moral purity. He has in some measure appreciated the purity of heaven, and the necessity of being himself as pure as the holy there, in order to enjoy their bliss and breathe freely in their atmosphere.

This state of mind is not often developed by writers, and it seems rarely to have engaged the attention of the Church as its importance demands.

When the mind gets a right view of the atmosphere of. heaven, it sees plainly it can not breathe there, but must be suffocated, unless its own spirit is congenial to the purity of that world. I remember the case of a man who, after living a Christian life for a season, relapsed into sin. At length God reclaimed His wandering child. When I next saw him, and heard him speak of his state of relapse, he turned suddenly away and burst into tears, saying, ” I have been living in sin, almost choked to death in its atmosphere; it seemed as if I could not breathe in it. It almost choked the breath of spiritual life from my system.”

Have not some of you known what this means? You could not bear the infernal atmosphere of sin—so like the very smoke of the pit! After you get out of it, you say, Let me never be there again! Your soul agonizes and struggles to find some refuge against this awful relapsing into sin. O, you long for a pure atmosphere and a pure heart, that will never hold fellowship with darkness or its works again.

The young convert, like the infant child, may not at first distinctly apprehend its own condition and wants; but such experience as I have been detailing develops the idea of perfect purity, and then the soul longs for it with longings irrepressible. I must, says the now enlightened convert, I must be drawn into living union with God as revealed in Jesus Christ. I can not rest till I find God, and have Him revealed to me as my everlasting refuge and strength.

Some years since, I preached a sermon for the purpose of developing the idea of the spiritual life. The minister for whom I preached said to me, I want to show you a letter written many years ago by a lady now in advanced age, and detailing her remarkable experience on this subject. After her conversion she found herself exceedingly weak, and often wondered if this was all the stability and strength she could hope for from Christ in His Gospel. Is this, she said, all that God can do for me? Long time and with much prayer she examined her Bible. At last she found, that below what she had ever read and examined before, there lay a class of passages which revealed the real Gospel—salvation from sinning. She saw the provisions of the Gospel in full relief. Then she shut herself up, determined to seek this blessing till she should find. Her soul went forth after God, seeking communion with Him, and the great blessing which she so deeply felt that she needed. She had found the needed promises in God’s Word, and now she held on upon them as if she could not let them go until they had all been fulfilled in her own joyful experience. She cried mightily to God. She said, ” If Thou dost not give me this blessing, I can never believe Thee again.”* In the issue the Lord showed her that the provisions were already made, and were just as full and as glorious as they needed to be or could be, and that she might receive them by faith if she would. In fact, it was plain that the Spirit of the Lord was pressing upon her acceptance, so that she had only to believe—to open wide her mouth that it might be filled. She saw and obeyed: then she became firm and strong. Christ had made her free. She was no longer in bondage; her Lord had absolutely enlarged her soul in faith and love, and triumphantly she could exclaim: Glory be to God! Christ hath made me free.

The state of mind expressed by hungering and thirsting is a real hunger and thirst, and terminates for its object upon the bread and water of life. These figures (if indeed they are to be regarded as figures at all) are kept up fully throughout the Bible, and all true Christians can testify to the fitness of the language to express the idea.

I have said that this state of mind implies conversion; for although the awakened sinner may have agonies and convictions, yet he has no clear conceptions of what this union with Christ is, nor does he clearly apprehend the need of a perfectly cleansed heart. He needs some experience of what holiness is, and often he seems also to need to have tasted some of the exceeding bitterness of sin as felt by one who has been near the Lord, before he shall fully apprehend this great spiritual want of being made a partaker indeed of Christ’s own perfect righteousness. By righteousness here, we are not to understand something imputed, but something real. It is imparted^ not imputed. Christ draw,s the souls of His people into such union with Himself, that they become “partakers of the divine nature,” or as elsewhere expressed, “partakers of His holiness.” For this the tried Christian pants. Having had a little taste of it, and then having tasted the bitterness of a relapse into sin, his soul is roused to most intense struggles to realize this blessed union with Christ.

A few words should now be said on what is implied in being filled with this righteousness.

Worldly men incessantly hunger and thirst after worldly good. But attainment never outstrips desire. Hence, they are never filled. There is always a conscious want which no acquisition of this sort of good can satisfy. It ij most remarkable that worldly men can never be filled with the things they seek. Well do the Scriptures say—This desire enlarges itself as hell, and is never satisfied. They really hunger and thirst the more by how much the more they obtain.

Let it be especially remarked that this being filled with righteousness is not perfection in the highest sense of this term. Men often use the term perfection, of that which is absolutely complete—a state which precludes improvement and beyond which there can be no progress. There can be no such perfection among Christians in any world—earth or heaven. It can pertain to no being but God. He, and He alone, is perfect beyond possibility of progress. All else but God are making progress—the wicked from bad to worse, the righteous from good to better. Instead of making no more progress in heaven, as some suppose, probably the law of progress is in a geometrical ratio; the more they have, the farther they will advance. I have often queried whether this law which seems to prevail here will operate there, viz., of what I may call impulsive progression. Here we notice that the mind from time to time gives itself to most intense exertion to make attainments in holiness. The attainment having been made, the mind for a season reposes, as if it had taken its meal and awaited the natural return of appetite before it should put forth its next great effort. May it not be that the same law of progress obtains even in heaven?

Here we see the operations of this law in the usual Christian progress. Intense longing and desire beget great struggling and earnest prayer; at lerjgth the special blessing sought is found, and for the time the soul seems to be filled to overflowing. It seems to be fully satisfied and to have received all it supposed possible and perhaps even more than was ever asked or thought. The soul cries out before the Lord, I did not know there was such fullness in store for Thy people. How wonderful that God should grant it to such an one as myself! The soul finds itself swallowed up and lost in the great depths and riches of such a blessing. Oh, how the heart pours itself out in the one most expressive petition: “Thy will be done on earth as in heaven!” All prayer is swallowed up in this. And then the praise^ the Fullness Of Praise! All struggle and agony are suspended: the soul seems to demand a rest from prayer that it may pour itself out in one mighty tide of praise. Some suppose that persons in this state will never again experience those longings after a new baptism; but in this they mistake. The meal they have had may last them a considerable time— longer, perhaps, than Elijah’s meal, on the strength of which he went forty days; but the time of comparative hunger will come round again, and they will gird themselves for a new struggle.

This is what is sometimes expressed as a baptism, an anointing, an unction, an ensealing of the Spirit, an earnest of the Spirit. All these terms are pertinent and beautiful to denote this special work of the Divine Spirit in the heart. They who experience it, know how well and aptly it is described as eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Lord Jesus, so really does the soul seem to live on Christ. It is also the bread and the water of life which are promised freely to him that is athirst. These terms may seem very mystical and unmeaning to those who have had no experience, but they are all plain to him who has known in his own soul what they mean. If you ask why figures of speech are used at all to denote spiritual things, you have the answer in the exigencies of the h^man mind in regard to apprehending spiritual things. Christ’s language must have seemed very mystical to His hearers, yet was it the best He could employ for His purpose. If any man will do His will, he shall know of His doctrine; but how can a selfish, debased, besotted, and withal disobedient mind expect to enter into the spiritual meaning of this language? How strangely must Christ’s words have sounded on the ears of Jewish priests: “God in us;” “The Holy Ghost dwelling in you;” “Ye shall abide in Me.” How could they understand these things? “The bread that came down from heaven,” what could this mean to them? They thought they understood about the manna from heaven, and they idolized Moses; but how to understand what this Nazarene said about giving them the true bread from heaven which should be for the life of the world, they could not see. No wonder they were confounded, having only legal ideas of religion, and having not even ^he most remote approximation to the idea of a living union with the Messiah for the purposes of spiritual life.

What are the conditions of receiving this fullness?

That the soul hunger and thirst for it, is the only condition specified in this passage. But we know it is very common to have promises made in the Bible, and yet not have all the conditions of the promise” stated in the same connection. If we find them elsewhere, we are to regard them as fixed conditions, and they are to be understood as implied where they are not expressed.

Elsewhere we are told that faith is a fundamental condition. Men must believe for it and receive it by faith. This is as naturally necessary as receiving and eating wheat bread is for the sustenance of the body. Ordinary food * must be taken into the system by our own voluntary act. We take and eat; then the system appropriates. So faith receives and appropriates the bread of life.

In general it is found true that before Christians will sufficiently apprehend the relations of this supply to their wants and to the means of supplying them, this hunger and thirst becomes very intense, so as to overpower and cast into insignificance all their other appetites and desires. As by a general law one master passion throws all minor ones into the shade, and may sometimes suspend them for a season entirely, so we find in this case a soul intensely hungering and thirsting after righteousness almost forgets to hunger and thirst even after its common food and drinks. Place before him his study-books, he can not bring his mind to relish them now. Invite him to a singing-concert, he has no taste that way at present. Ask him into company, his mind is pressing in another direction. He longs to find God, and can take but little interest in any other friend at present. Offer him worldly society, and you will find he takes the least possible interest in it. He knows such companions will not understand what his soul so intensely craves, and of course it were vain to look for sympathy in that quarter.

It is an important condition that the mind should have somewhat clear apprehensions of the thing needed and of the means of obtaining it. Effort can not be well directed unless the subject be in some good measure understood. What is that ensealing of the Spirit? What is this baptism? I must by all means see what this is before I can intelligently seek it and hope to gain it. True, no man can know before experience as he can and will know afterwards; but he can learn something before and often much more after the light of experience shines in upon his soul. There is no more mystification than there is in hungering for a good dinner, and being refreshed by it after you have eaten it.

Again, if we would have this fullness, we must be sure to believe this promise and all this class of promises. We must regard them as truly promises of God—dXX yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and as good for our souls to rely upon as the promise of pardon to the penitent and believing.

Yet again we must ask and insist upon their fulfillment to our souls. We are authorized to expect it in answer to our faith. We should be first certain that we ask in sincerity, and then should expect the blessing just as we always expect God to be faithful to His word. Why not? Has He said and shall He not do it? Has He promised and shall He not perform?

We must believe that the promise implies a full supply. Our faith must not limit the power or the grace of Christ. The Christian is not straitened in God. Let him take care, therefore, that he do not straiten himself by his narrow conceptions of what God can do and loves to do for His hungering and thirsting children. Often there is need of great perseverance in the search for this blessing. Because of the darkness of the mind and the smallness of its faith the way may not for a long time be prepared for the full bestowment of this great blessing.


I. The Antinomian Perfectionists mistook the meaning of this and of similar passages. They supposed that whoever believes gets so filled as never to thirst any more. But the fact is, the mind may rise higher and higher, making still richer attainments in holiness at each rising grade of progress. It may indeed find many resting-places, as Bunyan gives to his pilgrim—here at the top of the hill Difficulty, there on the Delectable Mountains, where he passes through scenes of great triumph, great faith and great joy in God. Subsequently to these scenes will occur other periods of intense desire for new baptisms of the Spirit and for a new ascent upon the heights of the divine life. This is to be the course of things so Jong at least as we remain in the flesh, and perhaps forever. Perhaps the blest spirits in heaven will never reach a point beyond which there shall not be the same experience—new developments of God made to the mind, and by this means new stages of progress and growth in holiness. With what amazement shall we then study these stages of progress, and admire to look abroa4 over the jiew fields of knowledge successively opened, and the corresponding developments of mental power and of a holy character, all which stand related to these manifestations of God as effects to their cause! What new and glorious views have been bursting upon us, fast as we could bear them, for myriads of ages! Looking back over the past, we shall say— Oh, this everlasting progress—this is indeed the blessedness of heaven! How far does this transcend our highest thought when we looked forward to heaven from the dim distance of our earthly pilgrimage! Here there is no end to the disclosures to be made, nor to the truths to be learned.

If there was to be no more food, how could there be any more spiritual thirst and spiritual hunger? How, indeed, could there be more spiritual joy? Suppose that somewhere in the lapse of heaven’s eternal ages, we should reach a point where nothing more remains to be learned—not another thing to be inquired after—not another fact to be investigated, or truth to be known. Alas, what a blow to the bliss ot heaven!

We are told that the angels are desiring to look into the things of salvation. Oh, yes; when they saw our Messiah born they were allowed to come sc near us with their joyous outbursts of praise that even mortals could hear. Do you not suppose those angels too are growing in, grace, and advancing in knowledge? No doubt they are, most wonderfully, and have been ever since they came into being.

How much more they must know of God now than they did before our world was created! And how much more they have yet to learn from God’s government over our race! Think you they have no more desires after the knowledge of God? And have they no more desire to rise to yet higher conformity of heart and character to the great Model of Heaven?

If so with angels, surely not less so with their younger brethren—the holy who are redeemed from among men.

You might suppose, that by studying in this school for a few days, you would learn all human science. This were a great mistake. You might master many sciences and still have other heights to ascend—other vast fields of knowledge to explore. You might have the best of human teachers and the best possible opportunities for learning, yet still it would be enough to occupy you the length of many lives to master all there is in even human science. The mind is not made to be so filled to satiety that it craves no more—can receive no more. Like the trees planted on the rivers of the waters of life, which bring forth twelve manner of fruits and whose roots go deep and drink largely of those blessed waters—so is the mind which God has endowed with the functions oi immortal progress.

As our ideal becomes elevated, and we see higher points to which we may arise, we shall have more enkindlings of desire, and more intense struggles to advance. What Christian does not find, as he reads the Bible over, new and deeper strata of meaning never seen before—new truths revealed and new beauties displayed. Old father O. used to say—” I am reading the Word of God. It is deep and rich, like the great heart of its Author. I have read now two hours and have not got over but two verses. It will take me to all eternity to read it through.” So it was. He really found more in the Bible than other men did. He went deeper, and the deeper he went, the richer did he find its precious ores of gold and silver.

So the Psalmist says—” Open Thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of Thy law.” Have you not been so ravished with love to this blessed book that you wanted to clasp it to your bosom and become purified with its spirit? As you go down into its depths and find in each successive stratum of its deep thoughts new beauties and new fields of truth to explore, have you not been filled with intense desire to live long enough and have time and strength enough to see, to learn, and to enjoy it all? Like the successive landscapes as you ascend the lofty mountain’s side, at each stage you see them spreading out in grander beauty and broader range—so, as you really study into the great and rich things of God’s spiritual kingdom, there is no limit to this sweep of the knowledge of God; for the fields only become the broader and the more enchanting as you ascend. Do you not think that his soul must be truly blessed who eats and drinks and fills his soul with divine righteousness?

2. I am strongly impressed with the conviction that some of you need a new development of the spiritual life. You need to go deeper into the knowledge of God as revealed in the soul; you need to hunger and thirst more intensely, and be by this means filled as you have not often been as yet. Even though you may have tasted that the Lord is gracious, you yet need to eat and drink largely at His table. It will not avail you to live on those old dinners, long past and long since digested. You want a fresh meal. It is time for you to say—” I must know more about this being filled with righteousness. My soul languishes for this heavenly food. I must come again into this banqueting house to be feasted again with His love.”

3. The full soul can not be satisfied to enjoy its rich spiritual provisions alone. If well fed himself, he will be only more exercised to see others also fed and blessed. The Spirit of Christ in his heart is a spirit of love, and this can never rest except as it sees others reaching the same standard of attainment and enjoyment which is so delightful to itself.

4. Real Christians should be, and in the main they will be, growing better and holier as they come nearer heaven. On the other hand, how great and fearful is the contrast between an aged growing Christian and an aged sinner growing in depravity and guilt! The one is ripening for heaven, the other for hell. The one goes on praising and loving, laboring and suffering for God and for his generation according to the will of God; but the other goes on his downward course, scolding and cursing as he goes, abhorred of men and disowned of his Maker. You have seen the awful contrast. You could hardly believe that two men so unlike were both raised in the same township, taught in the same school, instructed in the same religious assembly, and presented with the same Gospel; and yet see how manifestly the one is saved and the other damned. Each bears the sign beforehand—the palpable, unmistakable evidence of the destiny that awaits him.

5. Is it not full time that each one of you who has any spiritual life should stand out before the world and put on your beautiful garments? Let all the world see that there is a power and a glory in the Gospel, such as human philosophy never has even approached. Show that the Gospel begets purity and peace. Show that it enlarges the heart and opens the hand for the good of all human kind. Show that it conquers selfishness and transforms the soul from hate to love.

Sinners, ye who have earthly hunger and thirst enough, let your ears be opened to hear the glad tidings of real salvation. Ye whose hearts have never known solid peace—ye who are forever desiring, yet never satisfied—ye who cry in your inmost souls: O for office! O for honor ! O for wealth! See, here is that which is better far than all you seek. Here are durable riches and righteousness. Here are the first installments of pleasures that flow forever at God’s right hand. Here is heaven proffered and even pressed upon your regard and your choice. Choose life before, death, as you would be wise for your eternal well-being.


The Contrasted Aime and Parallel Methods of the World and the Christian

by Bible Study Tools | "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible."—! Cor. ix. 25. (

The imagery which the Apostle employs here is drawn from objects very familiar to the Corinthian Christians. A set of the most illustrious of the games of Greece was celebrated every third year within sight of their city. Every one of them had no doubt seen the stadium, or racecourse, of which he speaks in the previous verse, with its white marble seats crowded with eager spectators. They had all witnessed the racers straining every muscle to be first at the goal; and had marked the contrast between the many who failed, and slunk unnoticed into the crowd, and the one victor, received with a roar of welcoming applause. They knew the severe and long-protracted discipline of abstinence and exercise which was needful to give even a chance of success, and they understood what was the prize of all this effort—a twist of pine-leaves from the grove round the temple of the god. So all these points the Apostle seizes in order to enforce the lesson of self-denial which he has been avowing as the law of his own life, and desires to press upon his brethren of Corinth. For that purpose he suggests a parallel and a contrast. The aims are wonderfully unlike, but the methods are identical. What were all the discipline and toil and pains of the racer for? A garland that would wither before the brows had become accustomed to it. "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible." And yet their effort for an unworthy end is worthy to be our pattern and our stimulus for the loftiest end that men can set before them. So this poor runner is both a beacon and an example—a beacon in regard of what he chooses for his• object; an example in regard of the noble and the wise way by which he pursues it. We have, then, here a double contrast—the world's sad folly in its aims, and noble wisdom in its methods, and the Christian's wisdom in hi& aims, and alas! too often folly in his means. "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown." Do we do it to obtain an incorruptible?

I.—Here we get, in a symbolical and picturesque fashion, the preaching of the world's sad folly in its ordinary aims.

The wreath of oak, or ivy, or laurel, or parsley, or vine which was twined round the brows of the victors in the various games of Greece was, of course, not what he ran for. It was only a symbol, and its entirely valueless character made it all the more valuable. Far better that it should be a twist of greenery that would soon fade, than silver cups or anything of material worth. For it expressed simply honour, pre-eminence, the joy of success, reputation. In front of the temple that presided over the games with which the Corinthians were familiar, was a long avenue,, on either side of which stood ranged in order the white marble portrait-statues of the victors; and the hope that flushed many a man's face was that his image, with his name on its pedestal, should stand there. And where ar& they all? Their names forgotten, the ma•.•ble likenesses gone, buried beneath the green-sward, over which the shepherd to-day pastures his quiet flocks.

"So passeth, in the passing of a day,
Of mortal life, the leaf, the bud, the flower."

And all our pursuits, unless they be linked consciously and by repeated effort with eternity and with God, are as evanescent and as disproportioned to the magnitude and the capacities of us, the doers of them, as was the wreath for which months of discipline, and moments of almost superhuman effort, were considered but a small price to• pay.

Oh, dear friends, surely I need not press upon you this lesson, that it is folly for men to take as the object of their lives and the aim of their efforts, the things that are• shorter lived than the men that work for them. Surely,, surely, it is folly that we should lavish our energies and render our hearts unto that which makes for itself wings and passes away. Business, providing for a family, the acquisition of some more or less modest competency, these• are the things that necessarily demand a great deal of your attention and interest. You may so use them as that, whilst they are the nearer aims, the remoter aims of growing like your Master and fit for the inheritance may be reached through them all, and then they are blessed. Or you may so use them as that you build up of your earthly duties a thick, opaque barrier between you and your eternal wealth. In the one case you are wise, in the other case your epitaph will be "Thou fool!"

Do any of you remember the homely words in which a poet has put the lesson for us: "What good came of it at last ?" asks the little child, when the old man is telling him of the great victory. "What good came of it at last ?"• That is the question that shivers into insignificance, and convicts of something not much different from insanity,. much of all our lives, and the whole of some of our lives. "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown,"—two pennyworth of parsley twisted into a wreath that will be brown to-morrow morning. It is a symbol of what some of you are living for.

II.—Now, in the next place, take the other side of that contrast, and consider the Christian's wisdom in his aim.

"But we an incorruptible," says Paul. Of course, the crown that is spoken about here is not the kingly crown, but the garland of the victorious athlete. It is interesting to notice the various instances of the employment of this figure in the New Testament, and the various aspects of the future blessedness which are represented by it.

For example, the same Apostle tells us, in almost the last words of his which have been left to us :—•'Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness.." That there he is thinking of the crown of the victorious wrestler, coming wearied and yet conqueror out of the arena, is clear from the previous words, " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course ;" where both the pugilistic contest and the race are applied as emblems of Paul's career. Then again we read in the Epistle of James :—" Blessed is the man that endureth temptation, for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised." Then again we read in one of Peter's letters, that the elders who do their work faithfully and manfully shall receive at last from the Chief Shepherd "a crown of glory which fadeth not away." And then we read in John's Revelation, in the message to the persecuted Church at Smyrna, "Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life."

Possibly there may be a reference to the kingly crown in this promise from the Apocalypse, as royal dignities are very prominent in the promises of that book, and those who wear the crowns are, in another of its visions, seated on thrones. If so, there will be a threefold allusion in the emblem. It will stand for a symbol of dominion, of victory, and of festivity. It is the crown of the king, or the wreath of the victor, or the garlands on the temples of the guests at the feast. It is a crown of life that is, it consists of life. The true life of the spirit which partakes of the perfect glorified immortal life of Jesus is the crown. It is a crown consisting of glory. The radiant lustre of a manifestly God-glorified spirit is the crown. The garland that encircles the calm brows of those who sit at the feast is no mere external adornment, but the lustre of a perfect character which is the outcome of a Christ-given life. It is the crown of righteousness, that is to say, the crown which is, and can be given only to righteousness. Only pure brows can wear it. It would burn like a circlet of fire if it were placed on other heads. Righteousness is the condition of obtaining it. The condition is further expressed in other forms in the other passages quoted, according to which, those " who love His appearing," or those who "endure temptation" and "love Him," or those who do the task of their calling in the Church, or those who are "faithful unto death," receive the crown, that is to say—the fundamental condition is love to Christ, that love which is the effect of faith and leads to loving His appearing, and the subsidiary conditions which follow on that love are faithful endurance, patient service, and strenuous effort in the Christian cause. They who possess these graces shall at the last receive, as the prophet nas it, "a garland for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." And these, thus attired and anointed and crowned for the banquet, are led in to sit for ever at the marriage-supper of the Lamb.

This, then, brethren, is the aim which the Apostle would propose, and which he more than proposes, which he asserts to be as a matter of fact, the aim of every person that has the right to call himself a Christian. Now, there is a sharp test for you. "They do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we "What is to be filled in? We

*' do the same thing" to obtain an incorruptible crown. Is that your aim, Christian people? Do you live to win the laurel wreath of the victor, and that your brows may be twined with the garland of the feast? Have you triumphed over the nearer and lower objects, and are you living for the remoter and the nobler? If you are not, what business have you to call yourself a Christian? Men are classified by their aims in life. This is the description of Christ's followers: "We do it to obtain an incorruptible." Does that far-off wreath, extended from the hand •of the Judge Who sits at the winning-post, draw your eyes? Does it mold your life? Do you shape your conduct in such a fashion as to secure it? Does it gleam before you with a brightness that makes all other and nearer objects insignificant and pale? Put the questions to yourselves. If you can answer them in the affirmative you are a happy man.

And more than that, if you can thus answer, if it is true about you that you do own this as your formative motive— "" to obtain an incorruptible,"—then all these nearer object, will become even more blessed, and your whole life nobler than it otherwise would be.

The green of the lower slopes of the Alps never looks so vivid, their flowers never so lovely or so bright as when the eye rises from the grass to the snow, and from the flowers to the glaciers. And so all the lower reaches and levels of life look fairer, brighter, and the flowerets, that His providence sheds along across the grass like a smiles look the brighter and smell the sweeter because our eyes pass beyond them, and fix on the great white Throne that towers above them all. If you want life to be blessed and •noble, subordinate the present to the future, the material to the spiritual, all the corruptible crowns to the crown incorruptible. For the remoter our object the nobler our lives.

III.—And now again, passing by much that I wanted to say about this matter, let us turn to the other side of the double contrast that is here. Look at the world's noble •wisdom in the choice of its means.

This poor racer, of whom my text speaks, had ten months of hard abstinence and exercise before there was even a chance for him to succeed in the conflict. And then there was a short spurt of tremendous effort and expenditure of energy before he came in at the goal. These things, both of them, self-denial habitually, and spurts of energy up to the very edge of physical endurance—are conditions of success in the world, and they are both of them noble and beautiful. No matter for what the man is doing it, however low may be the aim, the act of self denial and the fact of effort are always better than the rust of self-indulgence and of languid indolence. It ia better for him to be braced into self-control, and stirred into energetic activity, than to be rotting like a fat weed in the pestilential marshes of self-indulgence, and losing all pith and manhood in the languid dissolution of indolence.

And so, following out the Apostle's lead here, one cannot but look with admiration, and with a recognition of the beauty and the nobleness of the spectacle, at a great deal of the toil and effort that the world puts forth, even for its own shabby ends. Why, a man will spend twenty times as long in making himself a good conjurer, who can balance feathers and twirl plates upon a table, as some of us ever spent in trying to make ourselves good Christians. The hard toil that all these people who contribute to the public amusement go through in order to secure eminence in their profession, ought to bring the blush of shame to the cheek of a great many of us. The world teaches us a lesson, as Paul set the lesson of these Corinthian races before Corinthian Christians. Think of the months of abstinence that any athlete, or horse-jockey, or pedestrian will go through here in England, and set by the side of that the sort of easy, languid, half-and-half pursuit of their great aim which characterizes, alas! such a melancholy number of people that profess and call themselves Christians.

IV.—That brings me to the last side of the contrast here; and that is the folly of so many professing Christians in their way of pursuing their aims.

A languid runner had no chance, and he knew it. The phrase was almost a contradiction in terms. A racer that would not go into training would lose his breath in the first five minutes, and might as well drop out of the race. What about a languid Christian? Is that a more consistent idea? What about a man that sets out on the Divine life, and exercises no self-restraint or discipline over himself? Will he get on any better? If I let my desire and affections go flowing vagrantly over the whole low plain of material things they will be like a river that is lost in the swamp; there will not be force enough left in the channel to make a scour and to run, and the stream will never get to the ocean. If I set out on the race without having girt up my loins by honest, resolute self restraint, self-denial, and self-crucifixion when need be, what can I expect but that before I have run half-a-dozen yards my ungirt robes will trip me up or get caught in the thorns and keep me back? My brother! No Christian progress is possible to-day, or ever was, or ever will be except on the old-fashioned conditions :—" Take up your cross, and deny yourself, and then come after Me." Learn from the world this lesson, that if a man wants to

succeed in any course He must shut out other, even legitimate ones. And do you put the lesson in practice in reference to your Christian life.

And then further, the runner that did not put all his powers into the five minutes of his race had no chance of coming in at the goal. And there is no different law in regard to Christian people. Up to the very edge of the capacity must be the effort. A languid Christian who does not strive with all his powers to live soberly, righteously, godly, and that with increasing completeness, will never make anything worth the making of his Christian career. It will be as in the old story,—the golden apple flung down before the racer will slacken his footsteps, and he will fall behind in the race. You must put all your strength into the work if you mean to run the race that is set before you, and to come at last to the goal.

God be thanked! We are crowned not because we are good but because Christ died. But the teaching of my text, that a Christian man must labour to win the prize, is by no means contradictory to, but complementary and confirmatory of the earlier truth, that a Christian man is crowned, as he is accepted, "not for works of righteousness which he hath done," but out of God's infinite mercy in Jesus Christ. Do not you pervert, as some are tempted to do, the great truth, that we are saved by Christ's death, .and that Heaven is all a free gift from God, into the great falsehood that an idle Christian can excuse himself for his indolence by pleading his "faith," or can be crowned, "unless he strive according to the laws" of the arena; of which the first is this:

—" Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved "; and the second is

—" Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling."


Missing Church Doesn’t Make You a Sinner

by Tommy Zimmer | “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8,9 (image: Mary Beth Bonacci)

Many Christians think if they miss church service, they might be damned to hell for all eternity. This can be very much seen in Catholic doctrine. “The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice,” The Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly states. “Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.” However, that is only one denomination of Christianity. Most other denominations can have significantly different interpretations. It's helpful to have a clear understanding of the different sects of Christianity.

The Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod explains where the phrase “by faith alone” comes from. It comes from various parts of the Bible but particularly Ephesians 2:8,9. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast,” the passage wrote. This is a very clear departure from the Catholic view, who believe you have to speak to a priest in confession in order to receive absolution for the sins you committed. This has been a particular stressor and important piece of the puzzle. Slate noted this in an article they published. “A generation ago, you'd see a lot of us lined up inside Catholic churches on Saturday afternoons, waiting to take our turn in one of the confessionals,” the article said. “Yet in most parishes, the lines for these confessionals have pretty much disappeared.”

Slate speaks about a cultural change as to why Catholics aren't confessing their sins at mass. However, Fr. James Martin, a Jesuit priest, has been advocating for confession and how helpful it can be. “Moreover, it helps to verbalize your sins with another person,” Martin wrote. “And hearing the words of absolution, viva voce, is a lot more powerful than intuiting them in prayer,” Martin alleges he has spoken with many Catholics and understands how tiring confession can be. But, he still believes in the benefits of confession.

So, the question of missing church can greatly depend on your particular Christian views. It could also be based on whether or not you are very liberal or conservative. Many Catholics can be conservative and pro-life while others might be pro-choice and care more about social justice issues. While individual Christian churches have attempted to set standards, it is tough to enforce them in one country alone but across the world too. It would seem the Lutheran standardsare more sensible. But, we can leave the answer up to you.

About the author: Tommy Zimmer is a writer whose work has appeared online and in print. His work covers a variety of topics, including politics, economics, health and wellness, addiction and recovery and the entertainment industry.

Christ in the Heart

by Salem Communications | "That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man."—Eph. iii, 16.

In no part of Paul's letters does lie rise to a higher level than in his prayers, and none of his prayers are fuller of fervour than this wonderful series of petitions. They open out one into the other like some majestic suite of apartments in a great palace-temple, each leading into a loftier and more spacious hall, each drawing nearer the presence-chamber, until at last we stand there.

Roughly speaking, the prayer is divided into four petitions, of which each is the cause of the following and the result of the preceding :—" That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man." That is the first. "In order that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith," "ye being rooted and grounded in love"—such is the second, the result of the first, and the preparation for the third. "That ye may be able to comprehend with all saints . . . and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." Such is the next, and all lead up at last to that wonderful desire beyond which nothing is possible— "that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God."

I venture to contemplate dealing with these four petitions in successive sermsns, in order, God helping me, that I may bring before you a fairer vision of the possibilities of your Christian life than you ordinarily entertain. For Paul's prayer is God's purpose, and what He means with all who profess His name is that these exuberant desires may be fulfilled in them. So let us now listen to that petition which is the foundation of all, and consider that great thought of the Divine strength-giving power which may be bestowed upon every Christian soul.

I.—First, then, I remark that God means, and wishes, that all Christians should be strong by the possession of the spirit of might.

It is a miserably inadequate conception of Christianity, and of the gifts which it bestows, and the blessings which it intends for men, when it is limited, as it practically is, by a large number—I might almost say the majority—of professing Christians to a simple means of alte ing their relation to the past, and to the broken law of God and of righteousness. Thanks be to His name! His great gift to the world begins in each individual case with the assurance that all the past is cancelled. He gives that blessed sense of forgiveness, which can never be too highly estimated unless it is forced out of its true place as the introduction, and made to be the climax and the end of His gifts. I do not know what Christianity means, unless it means that you and I are forgiven for a purpose ; that the purpose, if I may so say, is something in advance of the means towards the purpose, the purpose being that we should be filled with all the strength and righteousness and supernatural life granted to us by the Spirit of God.

It is well that we should enter into the vestibule. There is no other path to the Throne but through the vestibule. But do not let us forget that the good news of forgiveness, though we need it day by day, and perpetually repeated, is but the introduction to, and porch of the Temple, and that beyond it there towers, if I cannot say a loftier, yet I may say a further gift, even the gift of a Divine life like His, from Whom it comes, and of which it is in reality an effluence and a spark. The true characteristic blessing of the Gospel is the gift of a new power to a sinful weak world ; a power which makes the feeble strong, and the strongest as an angel of God.

Oh, brethren! we who know how, "if any power we have, it is to ill;" we who understand the weakness, the unaptness of our spirits to any good, and our strength for every vagrant evil that comes upon them to tempt them, should surely recognise as a Gospel in very deed that which proclaims to us that the "everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth," Who Himself "fainteth not, neither is weary," hath yet a loftier display of His strength-giving power than that which is visible in the heavens above, where, "because He is strong in might not one faileth." That heaven, the region of calm completeness, of law unbroken and therefore of power undiminished, affords a lesser and dimmer manifestation of His strength than the work that is done in the hell of a human heart that has wandered and is brought back, that is stricken with the weakness of the fever of sin, and is healed into the strength of obedience and the omnipotence of dependence. It is much to say "for that He is strong in might, not one of these faileth.' It is more to say "He giveth power to them that have failed; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength." The Gospel is the gift of pardon for holiness, and its inmost and most characteristic bestowment is the bestowment of a new power for obedience and service.

And that power, as I need not remind you, is given to us through the gift of the Divine Spirit. The very name of that Spirit is the "Spirit of Might." Christ spoke to us about being "endued with power from on high." The last of His promises that dropped from His lips upon earth was the promise that His followers should receive the power of the Spirit coming upon them. Wheresoever in the early histories we read of a man that was full of the Holy Ghost, we read that he was "full of power." According to the teaching of this Apostle. God hath given us the " spirit of power," which is also the spirit "of love and of a sound mind." So the strength that we must have, if we have strength at all, is the strength of a Divine Spirit, not our own, that dwells in us, and works through us.

And there is nothing in that which need startle or surprise any man who believes in a living God at all, and in the possibility, therefore, of a connection between the Great Spirit, and all the human spirits which are His children. I would maintain, in opposition to many modern conceptions, the actual supernatural character of the gift that is bestowed upon every Christian soul. My reading of the New Testament is that as distinctly above the order of material nature as is any miracle, is the gift that flows into a believing heart. There is a direct passage between God and my spirit. It lies open to His touch ; all the paths of its deep things can be trodden by Him. You and I act upon one another from without, He acts upon •us within. We wish one another blessings ; He gives the blessings. We try to train, to educate, to incline, and dispose, by the presentation of motives and the urging of reasons ; He can plant in a heart by His own Divine husbandry the seed that shall blossom into immortal life. And so the Christian Church is a great, continuous, supernatural community in the midst of the material world; and every believing soul, because it possesses something of the life of Jesus Christ, has been the seat of a miracle as real and true as when He said "Lazarus, come forth I" Precisely this teaching does our Lord Himself present for our acceptance when He sets side by side, as mutually illustrative, as belonging to the same order of supernatural phenomena, "the hour is coming when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and they that hear shall live," which is the supernatural resurrection of souls dead in sin,—and "the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth," which is the future resurrection of the body, in obedience to His will.

So, Christian men, and women, do you set clearly before you this : that God's purpose with you is but begun when He has forgiven you, that He forgives you for a design, that it is a means to an end, and that you have not reached the conception of the large things which He intends for you unless you have risen to this great thought — He means and wishes that you should be strong with the strength of His own Divine Spirit.

II.—Now notice, next, that this Divine Power has its seat in, and is intended to influence the whole of the inner life.

As my text puts it, we may be strengthened with might by His spirit in the inner man. By the "inner man" I suppose, is not meant the new creation through faith in Jesus Christ which this Apostle calls "the new man," but simply what Peter calls the "hidden man of the heart," the "soul," or unseen self as distinguished from the visible material body which it animates and informs. It is this inner self, then, in which the Spirit of God is to dwell, and into which it is to breathe strength. The leaven is hid deep in three measures of meal until the whole be le•avened. And the point to mark is that the whole inward region which makes up the true man is the field upon which this Divine Spirit is to work. It is not a bit of your inward life that is to be hallowed. It is not any one aspect of it that is to be strengthened, but it is the whole intellect, affections, desires, tastes, powers of attention, conscience, imagination, memory, will. The whole inner man in all its corners is to be filled, and to come under the influence of this power, "until there be no part dark, as when the bright shining of a candle giveth thee light."

There is no part of my being that is not patent to the tread of this Divine Guest. There are no rooms of the house of my spirit, into which He may not go. Let Him come with the master key in His hand into all the dim chambers of your feeble nature; and as the one life is light in the eye, and colour in the cheek, and deftness in the fingers, and strength in the arm, and pulsation in the heart, so He will come with the manifold results of the one gift to you. He will strength en your understandings, and make you able for loftier tasks of intellect and of reason, than you can face in your unaided power; He will dwell in your affections and make them vigorous to lay hold upon the holy things that are above their natural inclination, and will make it certain that their reach shall not be beyond their grasp, as, alas I it so often is in the sadness, and disappointments of human love. He will come into that feeble, vacillating, wayward will of yours, that is only obstinate in its adherence to the low and the evil, as some foul creature, that one may try to wrench away, digs its claws into corruption and holds on by that. He will lift your will and make it fix upon the good and abominate the evil, and through the whole being He will pour a great tide of strength which shall cover all the weakness. He will be like some subtle elixir which, taken into the lips, steals through a pallid and wasted frame, and brings back a glow to the cheek and a lustre to the eye, and swiftness to the brain, and power to the

whole nature. Or as some plant, drooping and flagging beneath the hot rays of the sun, when it has the scent of water given to it, will, in all its parts, stiffen and erect itself, so when the Spirit is poured out on men, their whole nature is invigorated and helped.

That indwelling Spirit will be a power for suffering. The parallel passage to this in the twin Epistle to the Colossians is—" strengthened with all might unto all patience and long-suffering with gentleness." Ah ! brethren, unless this Divine Spirit were a power for patience and endurance it were no power suited to us poor men. So dark at times is every life ; so full at times of discouragements, of dreariness, of sadness, of loneliness, of bitter memories, and of fading hopes does the human heart become, that if we are to be strong we must have a strength that will manifest itself most chiefly in this, that it teaches us how to bear, how to weep, how to submit.

And it will be a power for conflict. We have all of us, in the discharge of duty and the meeting of temptation, to face such tremendous antagonisms that unless we have grace given to us which will enable us to resist, we shall be overcome and swept away. God's power from the Divine Spirit within us, does not absolve us from the fight but it fits us for the fight. It is not given in order that holiness may be won without a struggle, as some people seem to think, but it is given to us in order that in the struggle for holiness we may never lose "one jot of heart or hope," but may be " able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand."

It is a power for service. "Tarry ye in Jerusalem till ye be endued with power from on high." There is no Buch force for the spreading of Christ's Kingdom, and the witness-bearing work of His Church as the possession of this Divine Spirit. Plunged into that fiery baptism, the selfishness and the sloth, which stand in the way of so many of us, are all consumed and annihilated, and we are set free for service because the bonds that bound us are burnt up in the merciful furnace of His fiery po\ver.

"Ye shall be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man "—a power that will fill and flood all your nature if you will let it, and will make you strong to suffer, strong to combat, strong to serve, and to witness for your Lord.

III.—And now, lastly, let me point you still further to the measure of this power. It is limitless with the boundlessness of God Himself. "That he would grant you," is the daring petition of the Apostle, " according to the of His glory to be strengthened."

There is the measure. There is no limit except the uncounted wealth of His own self-manifestation, the flashing light of revealed Divinity. Whatsoever there is of splendour in that, whatsoever there is of power there, ic these and in nothing on this side of them, lies the limit of the possibilities of a Christian life. Of course there is a working limit at each moment, and that is our capacity to receive; but that capacity varies, may vary indefinitely, may become greater and greater beyond our count or measurement. Our hearts may be more and more capable of God ; and in the measure of which they are capable of Him they shall be filled by Him. A limit which is always shifting is no limit at all. A kingdom, the boundaries of which are not the same from one year to another, by reason of its own inherent expansive power, may be said. to have no fixed limit. And so we appropriate and enclose, as it were, within our own little fence a tiny portion of the great prairie that rolls boundlessly to the horizon. But to-morrow we may enclose more, if we will, and more and more ; and so ever onwards, for all that is God's is ours, and He has given us His whole self to use and to possess through our faith in His Son. A thimble can only take up a thimbleful of the ocean, but what if the thimble be endowed with a power of expansion which has no term known to men? May it not, then, be that some time or other it shall be able to hold so much of the infinite depth as now seems a dream too audacious to be realised?

So it is with us and God. He lets us come into the vaults, as it were, where in piles and masses the ingots of uncoined and uncounted gold are stored and stacked; and He says, "Take as much as you like to carry." There is no limit except the riches of His glory.

And now, dear friends, remember that this great gift, offered to each of us, is offered on conditions. To you professing Christians especially I speak. You will never get it unless you want it, and some of you do not want it. There are plenty of people in this chapel at this moment who call themselves Christian men, that would not for the life of them know what to do with this great gift if they had it. You will get it if you desire it. "Ye have not because ye ask not."

Oh ! when one contrasts the largeness of God's promises and the miserable contradiction to them which the average Christian life of this generation presents, what can we say? "Hath His mercy clean gone for ever? Doth His promise fail for evermore?" Ye weak Christian people, born •weakling and weak ever since, as so many of you are, open your mouths wide. Rise to the height of the expectations and the desires which it is our sin not to cherish ; and be sure of this, as we ask so shall we receive. "Ye are not straitened in God." Alas! alas!" ye are straitened in yourselves."

And mind, there must be self-suppression if there is to be the triumph of a Divine power in you. You cannot fight with both classes of weapons. The human must die if the Divine is to live. The life of nature, dependence on self, must be weakened and subdued if the life of God is to overcome and to fill yon. You must be able to say "Not 11 "or you will never be able to say "Christ liveth in me." The patriarch that overcame halted on his thigh; and all the life of nature was lamed and made impotent that the life of grace might prevail. So crush self by the power and for the sake of the Christ, if you would that the Spirit should bear rule over you.

See to it, too, that you use what you have of that Divine Spirit. "To him that hath shall be given." What is the use of more water being sent down the mill lade, if the water that does come to it all runs away at the bottom, and none of it goes over the wheel? Use the power you have, and power will come to the faithful steward of what he possesses. He that is faithful in a little shall get much to be faithful over. Ask and use, and the ancient thanksgiving may still come from our lips. "In the day when I cried, Thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul."


Jack Hayford: America Is Suffering From a Spiritual Drought

I am writing in earnest and crying out for the igniting of an awakening to prayer

America is suffering from an extended spiritual drought. While the social and moral decay of this hour may grieve us, discernment of the larger reason for this blight lies at the door of an all-but-prayerless church.

We share a part of that responsibility because—had we been more conscientious earlier—we would not have allowed the progressive dismantling of weekly, united, extended corporate prayer gatherings.

I am not writing to assign guilt, for I have been too slow a learner myself. But I am writing with an invitation, one spoken from heaven and beginning to resonate in many hearts.

Although the enemy of humankind is rising viciously, knowing he has only a short time, the Holy Spirit of God is present. He is not here to condemn, but to convene the hearts of believers with His promise, wisdom and expectancy.

Above all, I feel a hope, born of prayer rising from my heart and one of love and brotherly commitment to Foursquare pastors, leaders and members. With that hope, I am writing in earnest and crying out for the igniting of an awakening to prayer.

Pray with me that we would unite to lead our congregations from our knees. Let us lead people into a lifestyle of intercession as God's Word directs (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

Unless we are biblically renewed to this first of all calling of the body of Christ, our first calling as believers will be sacrificed on the altar of sloth, and the spirit of the age will run even more rampant.

Let us affirm that there is nothing old school about the New Testament's order of the church's prayer-life. It is an ever-contemporary pattern of biblical spirituality, and nothing—not even the finest programming, productions or tactical strategies—can substitute for it.

Our Spiritual Foundation

Prayer is the foundation and fountainhead of spiritual power, breakthrough and revival; prevailing prayer, both at the local and national level, is what we and America need.

Given this situation, my hope is that The Foursquare Church may "rise to this hour" and make it a "restoring the ancient landmarks" of former victories. That, as a united-and-agreed fellowship, a vast majority of pastors and congregations would unapologetically welcome the Holy Spirit into their midst.

Pray with me that we would unite to lead our congregations from our knees. Let us lead people into a lifestyle of intercession as God's Word directs (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

Such well-ordered prayer gatherings will overthrow strongholds of darkness and release rivers of "living water" and revival blessings. Sound-minded, bold and believing prayer is prayer with a "cutting edge," namely, a lifestyle that penetrates the darkness of spiritual blindness and brings God's mercy and deliverance.

It is this kind of prayer that shatters the darkness and drives back the kind of spiritual challenge we face with the plague of evil and rebellion in our nation.

Jesus' Concern for the Last-Days Church

Someone recently asked me: "Some people think of the 1950s and 1960s as a golden age for the church in America, but were there drawbacks to the church being socially respectable?"

I answered: "I don't think of the church being 'respected' as a drawback. However, a socially comfortable church has not historically produced a spiritually passionate church."

Jesus' letters to the church in Revelation contain a similar opening, where Christ spells out His awareness and notice to each congregation and its leaders. His love for them all is never in question, but His concerns wave red-flag warnings to all of us who lead today:

You who have ears to hear, listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying!

Jesus points out that many of these churches are distracted or have neglected their central call, values and mission. The distractions are the same today; congregations are either:

  •     resting on their laurels
  •     impressed with their own perceived status
  •     blinded to their loss of focus on the Word and the Spirit, or
  •     by indulging their own carnality, losing clarity and integrity of heart.

The issue is clear: The Holy Spirit is seeking to find—and speak to—those with ears to hear!

Whether you are a Foursquare pastor, leader or church member, I am a bond servant with you. I invite you to join a multitude of those who are unabashedly attuned to hear, obey and respond as Holy Spirit-filled servants of Christ. This is vital for two crucial reasons:

  •     There is nothing more disabling than to become tone deaf to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
  •     There is nothing more numbing to the soul than to be unresponsive to His call.

In this critical hour, we dare not hedge on the implications of "hearing" the Holy Spirit. We dare not compromise His intentions for our fellowship as Spirit-filled and Spirit-led people.

The Key Question

The question of this hour in history resounds from the lips of the Lord: "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?" (Luke 18:8, NIV). Namely, the faith that answers the call to rise up in prayer!

As with any nation, the battle for America's soul will only be won with the weapons of spiritual warfare. These weapons—wielded by people systematically meeting in prayer gatherings to marshal sound-minded, biblically ordered intercession—have yet to be restored in The Foursquare Church in America.

Yet if God's people don't assemble in agreement, on their knees, who else will "destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ" (2 Cor. 10:5, ESV)?

The church is the one agency on Earth with access to this promise. Heaven is waiting. God has indicated His sovereign choice: He is ready to answer with His open hand of unlimited blessing if, under His authoritative directive, we will take our stand and advance in prayer.

Today, we must remember the promise God made to Solomon long ago: "If my people … humble themselves, and pray … then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land" (2 Chr. 7:14, ESV).

However, we must ask ourselves, "Where can God find a people who will align themselves with God's conditions?" This cannot be a halfway proposition. His Word of promise is only spoken into action where people welcome His Holy Spirit, and on His terms.

Aligning With the Spirit

I want to honor the wisdom, sought and applied, by which our leaders have brought administrative adjustments that we as a movement have pragmatically applied in recent years.

However, whatever else we have wisely and worthily realigned structurally, our definition of local intercessory alignment has yet to "hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches."

In this critical hour, we dare not hedge on the implications of "hearing" the Holy Spirit. We dare not compromise His intentions for our fellowship as Spirit-filled and Spirit-led people.

We are in need of reviewing Jesus' confrontation of leaders who busied themselves with religious duties but neglected God's command: "My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations" (Is. 56:7, NIV). Let us abandon all self-excusing passivity indulged when we negate our Lord's focus on the priority of prayer.

No society should ever be seen as beyond hope of revival, the recovery of sanity or the rebirth of multitudes—if it is laced with congregations everywhere where the Light of the world still shines.

The divine call of God addressing The Foursquare Church in America is no different than the one trumpeted to the larger believing body of Christ. Too many have traded the timeless for the transient, the costly for the clever, the eternal for the contemporary and the seeker-sensitivity for man-pleasing management.

Our beginning point of reference must be on our knees, in our closets and at altars of repentance. New furniture isn't required, but a ready and renewed passion is!

Jack Hayford is chancellor of The King's University and former president of The Foursquare Church.


Jonathan Cahn: These Are the Days of the Prophets

As if headlines of war, plane crashes and natural disasters are not enough, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn says the other sign of judgment in the last days is upon us.  

Cahn then recites the prophecy of Isaiah: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil." 

At the same time America is "racing" into apostasy, Cahn says, the country is targeting Christians.  

Look at Joe Kennedy, who was suspended from his football coaching position for praying on the 50-yard line. 

Then there's Kim Davis, who claimed "God's authority" when denying same-sex marriage licenses.  

Consider Aaron and Melissa Klein, among others, who have been the subject of a lawsuit for refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding ceremony.  

"We're hearing more stories we've never heard before, trying to force Christians to basically take part in abomination," Cahn says.  

Watch the video to see what he believes is to come.

How to Be a Christian in a Public School

Being a Christian in a public school can be quite a task. (Flickr)

No matter if you are a student in high school or a junior in college, the pressure of being a Christian in a public school setting seems to be talked about pretty often. The reality is, you don't need to worry. There will be trials, but God has you covered.

Here are some things that will help you on your journey of being a Christian in a public school:

1. Remove any thought of being "better" than your peers. You're human. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has flaws. Don't allow yourself to believe the lie that you are better than others because of your faith. Instead, humble yourself before those you come in contact with and make sure to be a living example of humility and grace.

2. Allow God to guide your words, actions and steps. Don't try to do things on your own. Allow God to guide every step of your schooling career, and this includes on and off campus. If you're going to claim to be a Christian, please make sure that you are truly surrendering to divine direction. Don't make Jesus look like a fool because of your own personal decisions. Walk in truth, extend grace and put the needs of others before yourself.

3. Don't silo yourself. You don't have to spend your time in the corner of the gym singing "God's not dead. He's surely alive!" in order to be a Christian in a public school.

Not to mention you'll probably never find yourself in a situation that most Christian movies portray public schools to be like. You need to make a priority of removing yourself from anything that will silo you from others, and instead allow yourself to embrace and welcome the lives of others into your personal life. Be known as someone who is approachable, not cold and distant.

Also remember that there is nothing wrong with spending time with unbelievers, as long as these people aren't directly influencing you in a negative manner. I'd actually encourage you to have some friends who don't necessarily see eye-to-eye with everything you believe. Why? It's because it's good for your soul. Back to my previous statement … be approachable.

You've Got This

Don't stress about being a Christian in a public school. There's no need to worry. Stand true to your beliefs, but be compassionate to those who don't see eye to eye with you. Kill them with kindness, and this includes any of your teachers. You've got this.

Jarrid Wilson is a husband, pastor and author relentlessly sharing the love of Jesus. For the original article, visit


Praise and Prayer, May 2014

Prayer/Counseling hotline: 07064359520


    Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess 5:25)



THURSDAY 1st   MISSION WEEK: The EMS first Mission Week continues today. Please join us as we continue our two-week-long prayer/ fasting for the success of this program. Pray for today’s talk titled: “how can you, your family and your church be practically involved in taking the gospel beyond your vicinity to the whole world?”

FRIDAY 2nd MISSION WEEK: The Mission Week enters its 5th day today. Please join us as we continue our two-week-long prayer/ fasting for the success of this program. Pray for the film shows and testimonies from the fields.

SATURDAY 3rd  MISSION WEEK: The Mission Week enters its 6th day today. Please join us as we continue our two-week-long prayer/ fasting for the success of this program. Pray for the many churches that will go out on evangelism today as part of the Mission Week.

SUNDAY 4th MISSION WEEK: Today, the ECWA family rounds up its first EMS Mission Week. Please observe a half-day prayer/ fasting for today’s Sunday service. Do this with praises and thanksgiving for the success of the program and for answers to other prayers.

MONDAY 5th CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for 112 new converts last month. Thank God for the water projects in our region. As a result of these projects, the village Chief and many of his subjects gave their lives to Christ. A new Prayer House has already been planted. Thank God the new three classrooms and the donation of 3 bundles of zinc from ECWA Masaka for Ungwan Jatau Prayer House.

TUESDAY  6th  ECWA HQTRS: Today is set aside for prayer and fasting at the ECWA HQTRS. Pray for the ECWA Executive members, HQTRS staff and other ECWA departments.

WEDNESDAY 7th MID EAST REGION: Thank God for 140 new converts last month. Thank God for a successful retreat held at Panda DCC from 8th – 11th April, 2014. Thank for the transfers within the Region and pray that God will graciously settle the missionaries in their new places.

THURSDAY 8th  FAR NORTH REGION: There is trouble in Dansadau. People have fled the area.  Our Far North Regional Coordinator has evacuated all our missionaries in the place. Please pray. There is a big threat by Muslim fundamentalists to destroy the church in Sabon Birni  and to chase away the pastor. Please pray against this.

 FRIDAY 9th   FAR NORTH REGION: Pray for more missionaries for Kebbi. There are 15 stations without Missionaries. Pray for Bakori town. We want to plant a church there.

SATURDAY 10th FAR NORTH REGION: Thank God for another new supporter (Women Fellowship Kebbi DCC). Thank God for Sokoto Pastors’ outreach at Tafkin Doki. Thank God for these new converts: Luka Amadu and Adamu Mamman.

SUNDAY 11th  MID-CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the success of the just concluded Missions conference and for the safety of the participants to and from the venue of the conference. Pray for the effective implementation of all the lessons learnt by the Missionaries and the supporters during the conference. Also thank God for the success of the Missions Awareness in Kagoro DCC between the 26th and 27th of April, 2014.

MONDAY 12th  NORTH-EAST REGION: Please intensify prayer towards this Region for God’s intervention concerning terrorism and persecution. Pray especially that God will deliver the over 200 girls abducted by the Islamic Boko Haram terrorist group.

TUESDAY 13th  SCHOOL SERVICES: Pray for this arm of the EMS, for the safety of the school children and their workers, both in the Missionaries’ Children Schools in Jos, Lakwame and Kufana and over seven Mission Field Schools in various Mission Fields.

WEDNESDAY 14th  RETIREES: Pray for these people who have labored and toiled in the Lord’s vineyard and are now retired. Pray for their health and spiritual and material needs. Pray for EMS to be able to raise sufficient funds (N2.5m for 2014) to supplement the meager pension allowances of our retirees.

THURSDAY 15th  WIDOWS/ ORPHANS: Pray that God will continue to comfort these people and meet them at the point of their needs. During the last EMS Widows Seminar, 53 missionary widows attended. Many committed to praying and fasting for EMS work. Pray that God will help them to be faithful. Thank God for our supporters who keep giving for the support of these widows.

FRIDAY 16th  NEW MISSIONARIES/ SUPPORTERS: There is an increasing demand for missionaries from all across Nigeria and beyond. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to raise laborers into His vineyard. Also, pray to God to raise more supporters.

SATURDAY 17th  SOUTH NORTH-EAST: Pray for the Southern Taraba area. Three of our missionaries and their families were attacked and narrowly escaped death but their entire properties and houses were burnt down to ashes. Pray for this new Region.  The devil is fighting hard to destabilize it.

SUNDAY 18th SOUTH NORTH EAST: Thank God for His faithfulness. In spite of the crises, Gongola DCC was able to pay the March salaries of their missionaries. Pray for Taraba DCC’s missionaries’ outstanding March salaries (N503, 300.00).

MONDAY 19th  NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for 150 new converts, please pray for their spiritual growth. Also thank God for new supporters in this Region.

TUESDAY 20th NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Please pray for two of our missionaries and their families that were displaced by crisis in Dahai and Koronishiya, Bukuru DCC. 

 WEDNESDAY 21st SOUTH WEST REGION: Pray for the success of a proposed awareness in this Region. Pray for more supporters in this Region.

THURSDAY 22nd SOUTH EAST REGION: Thank God for the successful Regional Prayer and Fasting/ Outreach carried out in Oguta, from 27th – 29th of last month. Thank God for what He is doing in that Mission field. Thank God for prevailing over the transfer problem which the devil wanted to use to wreak havoc to God’s work in that region.

FRIDAY 23rd NORTH WEST REGION: Praise the LORD! Mr. / Mrs. Daniel Yusuf Don Yaro has offered scholarship to twenty Missionaries to the tune of N25,000.00 per missionary. Thank God for 4 new supporters from Kasuwan Magani DCC. Also thank God for the small donors in our region.

SATURDAY 24th  ECWA RENEWED VISSION: Thank God for the positive responses received in fulfillment of this great vision. Pray for those who are yet to fulfill their promises to do so as soon as possible.

SUNDAY 25th  CROSS BORDERS: Please continue to pray for all our missionaries and members of their families in our Cross Borders’ fields. Pray for Rev Simon Yako, our Cross Borders Coordinator, who travels a lot to do survey of new frontier countries that EMS will advance to.

MONDAY 26th  FULANI MINISTRY: Pray for these areas: Lekki-Taba, Nguroje, Kakara and Yerimaru. They need a Missionariy, school for their Children and portable water. Pray for the Fulani/ Radio Ministry.

TUESDAY 27th  PRAYER AND FASTING: The EMS family is observing its monthly prayer and fasting today.

WEDNESDAY 28th  SPORTS FRIENDS: Pray that God will continue to use this ministry to reach out to our youths and win them over to Jesus Christ

THURSDAY 29th  CITY MINISTRIES: Pray for God’s divine provision for this crucial arm of EMS. Thank God for the increasing interest and support that is coming from nationals, individuals and organizations. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to move on the hearts of more nationals to support this critical ministry.

FRIDAY  30th  EMS SUPPORTERS: Pray for all those who have been supporting the work of God through the EMS. Pray that they would experience God’s abundant provision of spiritual, physical, material and financial resources that God’s work would not lack.

SATURDAY 31st  PRAISES AND THANKSGIVING: Praise the LORD and give thanks for seeing us through to the end of this month.

Praise and Prayer, April 2014

Prayer/Counseling hotline: 07064359520


    Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess 5:25)

TUESDAY 1st ECWA HQTRS: Praise God for a new month. Today is set aside for prayer and fasting at the ECWA HQTRS. Pray for the ECWA Executive members, HQTRS staff and other ECWA departments.

WEDNESDAY 2nd EMS HEADQUARTERS: Pray for the management staff as they continue to take crucial decisions that would affect the work of missions

THURSDAY 3rd MID-CENTRAL REGION: EMS Mission Conference starts in Kagoro today. Pray for journey mercy and safety for all the Missionaries, guests and resource persons. Let God’s will be done during this conference.

FRIDAY 4th MID-CENTRAL REGION: Pray for the conference which continues today. Pray for God’s intervention for the security situations in Kaura LGA where Fulani Jihadists have been attacking villages. Pray for comfort for the bereaved families. Thank God for additional supporters, Mr.& Mrs. Kadni in Saminaka DCC.

SATURDAY 5th FAR NORTH REGION: Thank God for the Pastors in Katsina and Sokoto DCCs who have pledged to support missionaries out of their meager resources. Mission awareness starts in Gusau and Sokoto today. Please pray for its successes. Also pray for this Region’s mission’s Committee members.

SUNDAY 6th CENTRAL REGION: Please pray for our station in Ugolawo. It’s in need of ₦300, OOO.00 only to purchase a land for the Church project. Pray for a revival in Igala land. Pray for the widow of late Rev. Jacob Duyah for God to comfort her.

MONDAY 7th CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the DCC office that supported the EMS with the sum of N70, OOO.00 only. There is an urgent need for 7 motorcycles, please pray. Pray for all our missionaries and their supporters in this Region.

TUESDAY 8th MID EAST REGION: This Region has been under a siege by Fulani Jihadists and other terrorist groups. Please pray for God’s intervention.

WEDNESDAY 9th MID EAST REGION: Thank God or the outreach and evangelism by Miango DCC to the Region. Thank God for the 90 new converts last month. Pray for all the Missionaries and supporters in this Region.

THURSDAY 10th The GAMBIA: Praise God for a successful discipleship training that was held at Barra. Many pastors and church leaders were blessed.  Thank God for Rev Sam Akeju who facilitated. Pray for Rev. Silas, Pastor Chammang, and all the missionaries that God will continue to use them for the advancement of His Kingdom. Pray for the proposed projects that the Lord will provide all the needed funds.

FRIDAY 11th MALAWI: Praise God for encouraging Rev. Joseph La'azarus and other missionaries. Thank God for the provision of funds to purchase a Land. Pray that God will hasten the registration of ECWA in Malawi. 

SATURDAY 12th CAMEROON: Thank the Lord for using our missionaries to reach out to the Cameroonians. Praise the Lord for many souls that are saved. Also thank the Lord for making the Douala church to grow rapidly. Pray for Rev. Tanimu and his family that God will protect them from the forces of darkness. 

SUNDAY 13th TOGO: Praise God for his protection over the lives of our missionaries in Togo. Thank him for new converts and for his provision to repair the Wahala church that was destroyed by the rain and storms. Pray that God will provide the funds for Atakpame church to make a ‘batcher’ (Temporary Zinc Shade) for members to have a place of worship. 

MONDAY 14th ISRAEL: Thank the Lord for his provision to sustain the work in Israel. Pray for Brother Obadiah and his assistance that God will give them success in their registration process of ECWA in Israel. 

TUESDAY 15th NIGER: Praise God for sustaining all our missionaries in the midst of hardships. Pray that the Lord will continue to encourage them. Also pray that God will give us a breakthrough start ECWA Niger Republic, while continuing our partnerships on the field with SIM related churches there. 

WEDNESDAY 16th BURKINA FASO: Praise God for using Rev Abba Baba Gida, Pastor Yusuf, Pastor Dauda and their families to advance His Kingdom here. Pray that God will provide all the funds needed for Rev Culumbus' children’s school fees to enable them return back to the mission field. Also pray for Pastor Dauda that God will add more souls into their newly planted church in Ouagadougou. 

THURSDAY 17th CROSS-BORDERS: Thank the Lord for the invitation of ECWA Togo, Cameroon and Chad by the ECWA executives to be observers at the GCC. Also pray for prospective missionaries that we are planning to send to Cotonou, Ghana and Niamey that God will provide all the resources needed and prepare them for effective ministry.

FRIDAY 18th NEW MISSIONARIES/ SUPPORTERS: There is an increasing demand for missionaries from all across Nigeria and beyond. Pray to the Lord of the harvest to raise laborers into His vineyard. Also, pray to God to raise more supporters..

SATURDAY 19th NORTH-EAST REGION: In spite of the happenings in the North East (the base of Boko Haram Islamic Terrorist Group), the people are asking for missionaries to be posted to the region, please pray about this. Thank God, the Regional coordinator’s official Hilux van that was involved in a ghastly motor accident is now on road.

SUNDAY 20th SOUTH NORTH EAST: This Region is under siege. Islamic terrorists have been doing a lot of havoc, persecuting Christians and waging relentless religious war. Please pray for God’s intervention.

MONDAY 21st NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the success of Jos DCC Mission Conference that was held last month. Pray for the success of the wedding of our Missionary in Gwol DCC, Pst. Adumi Halilu. It comes up today in Gure. Pray for Rev. Ibrahim Garba, Zagun DCC Coordinator who lost his 17 year daughter last month. Pray for comfort for Rev. Ayuba Habu, Zabolo DCC Coordinator who lost his 2 brothers and mother last month.

TUESDAY 22nd NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Pray for 115 new converts to grow in the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray for peace to reign in the Region, especially in Gwol, Bukuru and Yelwa DCCs. Thank God for 7 new Missionaries who were successfully taken to various mission fields within the region. Pray for them to adapt to the new environment.

WEDNESDAY 23rd  SOUTH WEST REGION: Pray for the success of a proposed awareness in this Region.

THURSDAY 24th SOUTH EAST REGION: Thank God for the success of friends and supporters’ forum held in Enugu DCC last February. Thank God for the number of people that heard the gospel last month and pray that the converts will be established in their new faith. Pray for the success of the first Mission week in 2014.

FRIDAY 25th NORTH WEST REGION: Thank God for additional 8 supporters last month. Thank God for Mr.& Mrs.Thomas Shakunu who donated a new motorcycle to the EMS Coordinator of Fadan Kagoma DCC. Thank God for the success of the supporters’ forum in Zaria DCC. Thank God for an anonymous donor in Kaduna South DCC who gave the sum of ₦50,000 for EMS Children’s School, Farin Gada Jos.

SATURDAY 26th  CITY MINISTRIES: God has continued to use brethren to support this ministry. Please pray for all these people and their families for God to visit them in special ways

SUNDAY 27th SPORTS FRIENDS: The coordinator of this ministry, Rev. Emmanuel Ali was admitted in a hospital, but now he is healed. Praise the LORD!

MONDAY 28th MISSION WEEK: The EMS first mission week starts today. Please join us as we start a week long prayer/ fasting for the success of this program. All ECWA Churches are required this week to follow the Missions Activities Programme produced by EMS Headquarters and distributed to all Local Church congregations. On Sunday, Local Churches are expected to send all their collections to EMS Headquarters.  Pray for revivals in Passion for Missions, salvation of souls  and for faithfulness by Local churches and District Church Councils in remitting the funds collected on Sunday 

TUESDAY 29th PRAYER AND FASTING: The EMS family is continuing with its prayer and fasting today. Our major focus is the first Mission week. Please join us.

WEDNESDAY 30th PRAYER AND FASTING: The EMS family is continuing with its prayer and fasting today. Our major focus is the first Mission week. Please join us. Praise the LORD and give thanks for seeing us through to the end of this month.

Praise and Prayer, March, 2014

Prayer/Counseling hotline: 07064359520


    Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess 5:25)

SATURDAY 1st  PRAISE GOD: Praise God for a new month and for a new life in Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast”. (Eph 2:8-9)

SUNDAY 2nd  EMS HEADQUARTERS: Pray for the Director, the admin, Units Coordinators and all the HQTRS Staff and their families. “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority” (1 Tim 2:1-2)

MONDAY 3rd  SCHOOL SERVICES: Pray for the School services Coordinator, Rev. Ben Buba, staff and students of all the EMS schools and Mission field Schools

TUESDAY 4th ECWA HQTRS Today is set aside for prayer and fasting at the ECWA HQTRS. Pray for the ECWA Executive members and the ECWA HQTRS staff

WEDNESDAY 5th  CROSS BORDERS: Pray for all our Cross Borders missionaries. Ask God to raise supporters and missionaries for this Unit. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Rom 10:14-15)

THURSDAY 6th  FULANI/ RADIO MINISTRIES: Pray for wisdom and protection for the Coordinator of this Unit, Rev. Idris Shaaibu and members of his family. Pray for a successful Conference of the Fulbe Christian Association of Nigeria starting today to end on the 9th of this month at Jebu Miango near Jos. Pray for more missionaries to reach the Fulanis with the gospel. “Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all”. (Col 3:11)

FRIDAY 7th  SPORTS FRIENDS: Pray for the Coordinator, Rev. Emmanuel Ali and the activities of this Unit. Pray for more sporting activities this season.

SATURDAY 8th   ECWA RENEWD VISION: Thank God for the amazing things He has done so far as regards the ERV. Thank Him for all those He has been using to contribute towards the success of this project. Thank Him for the successful commissioning of the Church and other related projects in The Gambia by the ECWA Executive.

SUNDAY 9th  ECWA RENEWD VISION: Pray for God to raise more supporters and Church Planters for the ERV. “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come”. (Matt 24:14)

MONDAY 10th THE SICK: At this moment some of our missionaries or their spouses or children are critical ill in hospitals. Also, some of our supporters and members of their families are suffering from one form of disease or the other. Please pray for God’s intervention to heal the sick from all their diseases.

TUESDAY 11th  NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for new 3 supporters in this Region. Pray for them and the old ones. Pray for God to help our 6 Coordinators that were recently transferred to other Regions. Pray for them to be able to adapt to their new places of assignments and for His favor to be upon them. Pray for the new Missionaries to be guided by the Holy Spirit in the field

WEDNESDAY 12th   NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for Dadin Kowa LCC in Bukuru DCC which is building a church and 3 classrooms in our mission school in Fadan Zigam. Also the Women Fellowship of this LCC donated 41 wrappers (uniforms) for The Gambian Missions.

THURSDAY 13th   EMS SUPPORTERS: Even in these difficult times, brethren are still making huge sacrifices for the gospel of Jesus Christ to spread. Pray for all our supporters including individuals, LCBs, LCCs, DCCs, agencies and others that God has been using to support the work of missions through the EMS

FRIDAY 14th CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the film show at Abaji DCC, Lubakya, Kpagu LCC a strong Muslim area. There were 17 new converts while 10 others rededicated their lives. Pray for one of our new fastest growing Prayer Houses at Kutara Garki LCC. Thank God for the 10 new supporters in this Region in January 2014. 7 of these were from the ECWA Gospel Church Karu, Abuja. Pray for the family of our missionary, Rev. Jacob Duyah, who died on 08/02/2014.

SATURDAY 15th  NORTH WEST REGION: Thank God for 8 new missionaries that were recently posted to this region. Thank God for making it possible to pay our Missionaries’ salaries last month and also thank God for new 5 supporters in this Region. Pray for new converts and new literacy class Graduates. Pray for new supporters and small donors in this Region.

SUNDAY 16th FAR NORTH REGION: Pray for the new Regional Coordinator, Rev. Yahaya Bungule as he undertakes the odious task of turning this region around. Pray for all the newly posted Missionaries to this Region. Pray to God to raise supporters and more missionaries to this ripe mission field.

MONDAY 17th MID EAST REGION: Thank God for the protection over incessant Fulani Jihadists attacks. Pray for the newly posted Missionaries to this Region to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Thank God for raising new supporters last month. Thank God for healing the Regional Coordinator’s wife.

TUESDAY 18th MID-CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the 92 Coverts last month. Pray for their spiritual growth and maturity. Thank God for the 5 new missionaries that were recently posted to this region. Thank God for 3 new supporters. Pray for the proposed mission conference coming up between the 3rd and 5th of April, 2014.

WEDNESDAY 19th NORTH-EAST REGION: Thank God for the new coverts last month. Pray for their spiritual growth and maturity. The Boko Haram sect has wrecked so much havoc in this Region. Please pray for God’s intervention.

THURSDAY 20th  SOUTH NORTH EAST: This Region has just been newly created. Pray for the Regional Coordinator, Rev. Nehemiah Magaji for wisdom, favor and strength. So many things need to be  put in place for the success of this Region. Please pray!

FRIDAY 21st  SOUTH WEST REGION: Pray for the Regional Coordinator, Rev. Cornelius Taiwo Adebayo as he undertakes the herculean task of turning this region around. Pray for all the Missionaries in this Region. Pray to God to raise supporters and more missionaries to this mission field

SATURDAY 22nd SOUTH EAST REGION: Praise God for the 199 people who heard the gospel and the 17 people that gave their lives to Christ. Pray for the people of Ukwota and Isieke as we plan to reach them with the gospel this month.

SUNDAY 23rd SOUTH EAST REGION: Pray for Pastor Sunday Danladi who was transferred to Garriki in Enugu DCC to work among the Muslims. Pray that God will use him in his new station. Pray for Paul Awaje as he settles down in his new station in Ezikoro in Yenegoa and also for Pastor Cyril Eke.

MONDAY 24th CITY MINISTRIES: Pray for the family members of Baba Dangana Yari (House Parent of Du) who lost their daughter. Thank God for the successful dedication of a 4 Bedrooms flat built and donated to Gidan Bege, Lafia by Mrs. Phoebe D. Ayenejeh. Thank God for the various food items that were donated to the ministry. Thank God for N2m received for the purchase of more grains.

TUESDAY 25th PRAYER AND FASTING: The EMS family is praying and fasting today. Please join us. Please feel free to contact us for a free copy of our detailed prayer needs.

WEDNESDAY 26th  EMS NEWS LETTER: God has been using this material as a powerful tool for the spread of the gospel of the Kingdom and to contribute towards the spiritual maturity of the brethren. About two million naira is needed annually for its quarterly production. Ask God to raise supporters for this project. Also pray for its sustainability, quality and for it to have more impact in the lives of those who are destined for the Kingdom of heaven.

THURSDAY 27th   UNCONVENTIONAL MISSIONARIES: Please ask God to raise carrier missionaries e.g. Doctors, Engineers, Pharmacists, accountants, Architects, missionary teachers and other professionals who would be willing to work as tent making missionaries in our various missions fields within Nigeria and overseas. “Pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest." (Matt 9:38)

FRIDAY 28th   ECWA: Today, take time to pray for ECWA as a denomination. Pray for all her members, LCBs, LCCs, DCCs, GCC, Agencies, Departments and Units. Pray for ECWA leadership at the various levels. Pray for a revival in ECWA

SATURDAY  29th  THE BODY OF CHRIST: Pray for the followers of Jesus Christ to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

SUNDAY 30th   NIGERIA: Please intercede for Nigeria. Pray for her people, leaders and the government at the various levels. Pray for security, economy and the political class.

MONDAY 31st PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING: Today is the end of the month. Praise the LORD and give thanks for seeing us through. PRAISE THE LORD!

ECWA USA DCC National Conference in Lanham, MD

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Good Times at ECWA USA National conference
Good Times at ECWA USA National conference

Conference Hotel Reservation Information

ADDRESS: 5910 Princess Garden Parkway, Lanham, MD 20706
TELEPHONE: (301) 459-1000
RATE: Room rate is $95.00/ night (plus 11% tax). Full Breakfast is included.
          Room could be with 1 King bed, 2 Double beds OR 2 Queen beds.
 Please call ONLY (301) 459-1000   for reservation. Our group name is ‘ECWA USA’.
Deadline for reservation is Monday May 19, 2014.
CHECK IN: Check in time is from 3PM on Thursday June 19, 2014;
CHECK OUT time is by 12 noon on Sunday June 22, 2014.
There is no shuttle service, but ‘The Maryland Brethren’ will co-ordinate pick up from the Airport for those travelling by air.  For this reason we suggest arriving /departing  via  BWI Airport  which is closer and most accessible.
For additional information or assistance please contact:
       Pastor Henry Bello: (301) 785-3073;
       Rev.  Philologus Irukera: (240)636-7680;
       Mrs.  Pedetin Ezeigbo: (240)-353-9817;
       Brother Toyin  Adekeye: (301)675-3158
       International Coordinator/Embassy Contact: Elder Josiah Osasona: (404) 735-3452
We look forward to a great time of fellowship with you and your family.
May The Lord grant all travelers journey mercies.

Download Conference Hotel Reservation Information in Adobe Acrobat PDF format

Download Conference Hotel Reservation Information in Microsoft Word format

Please mail completed registration forms with or without payment to: ECWA Church, PO Box 471865, District Heights, MD 20753 

Prayers & Praise, February 2014

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Prayer/Counseling hotline: 07064359520
Brethren, pray for us (1 Thess 5:25)


SATURDAY 1st PRAISE GOD: Praise God for a new month. Today, the EMS Director, Rev. Stephen Panya Baba embarks on a crucial journey as an advance team to the Gambia. Please intercede on his behalf. Also commit his entire family into God’s hands.

SUNDAY 2nd EMS HEADQUARTERS: Thank God for a successful transition period in the EMS HQTRS. The administrator, Rev. Dr. Ibrahim Bunga and the other management staff who were recently reshuffled are gradually settling down in their new offices.

MONDAY 3rd TRANSFERS AND NEW MISSIONARIES: Pray for all our DCC coordinators and members of their families that were affected by the recent mass transfer. Ask God to help them to quickly settle down and adjust to their new environments. Also pray for our newly recruited missionaries. Pray for journey mercies as their respective regional coordinator take them and members of their families to their various mission fields.

TUESDAY 4th ECWA HQTRS: Today is set aside for prayer and fasting at the ECWA HQTRS. Pray for the ECWA Executive members, HQTRS staff and other ECWA departments.

WEDNESDAY 5th CROSS BORDERS: Thank God for the 10 couples that were successful as potential candidates for our Cross Borders mission fields during the recent recruitment exercise. Pray for financial and other needs involved for them to be posted to their different stations.

THURSDAY 6th ECWA RENEWD VISION (ERV): History is in the making today as the ECWA president leads other prominent ECWA sons and daughters from across Nigeria on the journey to The Gambia to commission the ECWA church in that country and other related engagements. Mission work in the Gambia has already spread to Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Sierra Leone. Pray for journey mercies as they travel by air, land and sea. Please join us to fast if you can.

FRIDAY 7th ECWA RENEWD VISION: Thank God for journey mercy for The Gambia team. Pray as they settle in their hotel rooms, being briefed and have a group Bible study from 6:30-7:30pm. Please join us to continue fasting if you can.

SATURDAY 8th  ECWA RENEWD VISION: Today, The Gambia team is visiting Brikama, Sifoe, Gunjur, Yuna and Lamina-Messe. Thereafter, they will go for sight-seeing before holding a city wide crusade between 5:30 and 8:00pm. Please pray for the host of heavens to dislodge any plan of the enemy to disrupt these activities. Also, join us to continue fasting if you can.

SUNDAY 9thECWA RENEWD VISION: This is a very special day. The historic dedication of the ECWA church in The Gambia starts at 9:00am. This will be followed by a thanksgiving service at 3:00pm. Today’s activities will be rounded up with a special grand dinner at 6:00pm. Please join us to fast, pray and celebrate this special day that the LORD has made.

MONDAY 10thECWA RENEWD VISION: Today, the team will pay courtesy calls on the Nigerian High Commission to The Gambia and the Country’s President. Later, the people will visit Soma and Bansang. Please pray for the success of these activities. Join us in prayer/fasting if you can.

TUESDAY 11thECWA RENEWD VISION: Today, the team will leave Bansang for Barra for the dedication of the Mission property in Barra. Thereafter, the people will travel to Banjul by Ferry. Please pray for their journey mercies and for the success of today’s programs. Join us in prayer/fasting if you can.

WEDNESDAY 12th  ECWA RENEWD VISION: Today, the team will go to town in the morning before departing to the airport at noon. Pray for their safety as they interact with other nationals in the town. Pray for their journey mercy back to Nigeria. Please join us in prayer/fasting if you can.

THURSDAY 13th  ECWA RENEWD VISION: Thank God for a successful flight back to Nigeria. Pray for the journey mercy from the airport terminal in Nigeria to their various destinations. Thank God for the success of the mission trip to The Gambia. You can round up your prayer/ fasting today. Thank you, faithful partners for allowing God to use you to be part of this historic occasion.

FRIDAY 14thCENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the new missionaries who were recently posted to this Region. Thank God for all our supporters. Continue to pray for them and all the members of their families

SATURDAY 15thNORTH WEST REGION: Thank God for new converts last month. Pray for all our supporters, donors and all the EMS staff and workers.

SUNDAY 16thFAR NORTH REGION: Pray for the newly posted Regional Coordinator, Rev. Yahaya Bungule and members of his family as they settle down to oversee the work in this Region. Pray for our missionaries and their supporters in this Region. Pray against the menace of Boko Haram. Pray for protection of lives and property and for the victims of the persecuted brethren.

MONDAY 17thSOUTH WEST REGION: Thank God for His divine provisions for the Region last month. Pray for more supporters in this Region, for new stations to be opened and for more souls to be won this year.

TUESDAY 18thMID-CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for the souls that were won last month. Pray for their Spiritual growth. Pray for God’s intervention in the ongoing Fulani-Atakar and Maro’a people. Also pray for the need of a well for drinking water in Ungwan Awalu and Rauda Kaura LCC of Kwassam DCC.

WEDNESDAY 19thNORTH-EAST REGION: Praise God for His divine visitation to this region, especially for comforting the family of the Regional Coordinator, Rev. Ma’aji Zakka. Pray for the new converts for God’s strengthening in their faith. Pray for all our missionaries and supporters in this region.

THURSDAY 20th SOUTH NORTH EAST: Pray for this newly created Region out of the North East Region. Pray for the Regional Coordinator, Rev. Nehemiah Magaji and all the missionaries and supporters in this Region.

FRIDAY 21st NORTH CENTRAL REGION: Thank God for 3 new supporters and for ECWA Plateau Church that has resolved to support additional 10 EMS Missionaries. This church is already supporting Rev Joseph Lazarus, EMS Missionary couple to Malawi. Pray towards a mission conference in Jos DCC later this year and for more missionaries in this Region.

SATURDAY 22ndMID EAST REGION: Pray for new missionaries in Idoma land. Japhet Bala, one of our Missionaries in Makurdi DCC lost his 2 year old son. Please pray for comfort. Pray for new supporters and proper awareness in this region

SUNDAY 23rdSOUTH EAST REGION: Some of our members in Idoro and Ibeku who went for special duties at the troubled areas in the North were killed by the Islamic sect, Boko Haram. Pray for members of their families. Thank God for Umuahia DCC. It was able for the first time to pay its missionaries’ salaries in December, 2013 and also remitted the sum of ₦20,000.00 to the Region. Pray for Pastor Boniface Chidi who has been transferred from Idoro to a newly opened station at Chokocho in Rivers State.

MONDAY 24thCITY MINISTRIES: Pray for one of our widows who lost her daughter recently and also for the family of the widow's unit security who died on 30/12/2013. Thank God for Rtd. Captain Malik Mohammed and members of his family for their support. They bought mattresses, bed sheets, new clothes and new shoes for all the 15 boys at Gidan Bege. They have also promised to give scholarship to any three of our brilliant children from primary school to the University level.

TUESDAY 25thPRAYER AND FASTING: The EMS family is praying and fasting today. Please join us.

WEDNESDAY 26thSPORTS MINISTRY: Thank God for the recovery from ill health of the Coordinator of this Unit, Rev. Emmanuel Ali. Pray for more sporting activities this season.

THURSDAY 27th  FULANI/ RADIO MINISTRIES: Pray for more missionaries to reach the Fulanis with the gospel. Pray for Fulbe Christian Association of Nigeria. Pray for a successful Conference coming up between 6th and 9th March 2014 at Jebu Miango near Jos. Pray for wisdom and protection for the Fulani Coordinator, Rev. Idris Shaaibu and members of his family.

FRIDAY 28th PRAISE AND THANKSGIVING: Today is the end of the month. Praise the LORD and give thanks for seeing us through. PRAISE THE LORD!

The Self Revelation of God

(502) 375-1904,,


Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi


In reference to the man by the name C. S. Lewis, the word “The Self- Revelation of God” could be explained thus:  "The greatest poem in the Psalms and one of the greatest lyrics in the world."

The above narrated statement was written or composed by King David around 1000 BC.  This phrase or word consists of three distinct parts which could be explained thus;
1.  Through Nature:  Revelation 19: 1-6
2.  Through His word:  Revelation 19: 7-10
3.  The key to Benefiting from God’s word:  Revelation 19: 11-16  

A.  The Lord’s Covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob

          What does the word “Covenant” really mean in the Bible? This could be viewed in several ways.  For example, after Noah’s day the descendants of his sons degenerated into godlessness and idolatry.  The Bible records that at Babel the Lord judged human rebellion with confusion of languages.  This could be seen in the book of Genesis that says;   

The Tower of Babel

Now the whole earth had one language and one speech.  2 And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there.  3 Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.  4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” 

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.  6 And         the Lord said, “Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them.  7 Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.”  8 So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city.  9 Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth (Genesis 11:1-9 (NKJV).

Brethren, be assured that Babel was the beginning of idolatry.  The tower was what archaeologists called ziggurat, which was upon the top of where idolatrous worshiped.  In reference to the Lady by the name Kay Arthur,  in her Book titled “Lord, Teach Me To Pray” the town Babel is actually the Hebrew name for the city known as "Babylon" or the “Tower of BABYLON, that is “The Babylonians.”  The ancient Babylonians and the Assyrians spoke the same language known as "Akkadian", that is, "The gate of the gods," where heaven and earth met.  The above narrated points are also fully explained in the Epistle of Romans thus;

God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,  19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.  20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,  23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things (Romans 1:18-23 (NKJV).

B.   God’s Covenant with Israel Through Moses

                Be assured that it was the sin of Jacob’s sons that got the Israelites into bondage in Egypt, and they fell into the idolatry of the Egyptians.  The ten plagues were God’s judgments upon the very gods that the Egyptians worshiped, and their idolatry was closely tied in with animals and insects.  This was carefully emphasized in the book of Exodus:

The Seventh Plague: Hail

13 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Rise early in the morning and stand before Pharaoh, and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord God of the Hebrews: “Let My people go, that they may serve Me, 14 for at this time I will send all My plagues to your very heart, and on your servants and on your people, that you may know that there is none like Me in all the earth.  15 Now if I had stretched out My hand and struck you and your people with pestilence, then you would have been cut off from the earth.  16 But indeed for this purpose I have raised you up, that I may show My power in you, and that My name may be declared in all the earth (Exodus 9:13-16 (NKJV).

Our Almighty God brought the Israelites from the land in Egypt with a great miracle and led them into the land of Sinai and gave them His law. This is also explained in the book of Exodus thus:

Israel at Mount Sinai

19 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai.  2 For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.

3 And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:  4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.  5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for that all the earth is Mine.  6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him.  8 Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the Lord has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the Lord (Exodus 19:1-8 (NKJV).

The above narrated stories indicated that after our Almighty Father reminded His people that He is the Lord of the Heaven and the Earth, He then told the Israelites that they should be a kingdom of priests.   This statement is fully loaded with great meaning, that is, a priest is a mediator between God and Man.  This means, Israel must be a whole nation of priests, intermediaries between the Lord who reveals Himself to them, and to the pagan nations around them.  That is, they must be a Missionary Nation.  But before they can do this faithfully and obediently, they must be loyal to His word and keep His law with humility and honesty.    

C.  The Place of Gentile Converts in Israel

The place of Gentile Converts in the Land of the Israelites could be emphasized or explained in this way:             

20 Then the Lord said: “I have pardoned, according to your word;  21 but truly, as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord  22 because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice,  23 they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it.  24 But My servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit in him and has followed Me fully, I will bring into the land where he went, and his descendants shall inherit it.  25 Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites dwell in the valley; tomorrow turn and move out into the wilderness by the Way of the Red Sea (Numbers 14:20-25 (NKJV).

Also, the Book of Genesis could the narrated thus:

18 On the same day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying:  “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River Euphrates—  19 the Kenites, the Kenezzites, the Kadmonites,  20 the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim,  21 the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jobsites  (Genesis 15:18-21 (NKJV).

The Book of Leviticus could also be viewed or explained in this way.

The Sanctity of Blood

17 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,  2 “Speak to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘This is the thing which the Lord has commanded, saying:  3 “Whatever man of the house of Israel who kills an ox or lamb or goat in the camp, or who kills it outside the camp,  4 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting to offer an offering to the Lord before the tabernacle of the Lord, the guilt of bloodshed shall be imputed to that man. He has shed blood; and that man shall be cut off from among his people,  5 to the end that the children of Israel may bring their sacrifices which they offer in the open field, that they may bring them to the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to the priest, and offer them as peace offerings to the Lord.  6 And the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and burn the fat for a sweet aroma to the Lord.  7 They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations.”

8 “Also you shall say to them: ‘Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice,  9 and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the Lord, that man shall be cut off from among his people (Leviticus 17:1-9 (NKJV).


Dearly beloved, I wish I have more opportunity to go into the Book of Ruth.  Ruth, a Moabite widow, was highly impressed with Naomi, her mother-in-law.  The lady Naomi requested that Ruth should return to the land of Judah where she came from but Ruth refused to retune to Judah.  Ruth said to the lady Naomi;

Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I     will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. 17 Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me.” 18 When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her” (Ruth 1:16-18 (NKJV). 

Brethren, how do you show your attitude toward each another?  Be assured that no-matter your sorrow, discouragement, or calamity, the Almighty God is on your side.  Call on Him each day and you will see that He will not leave you nor forsake you because He is there on your side.  Thanks!

He Died at the Right Time

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THEME:  When the Curtain Opens For You
TOPIC: He Died at the Right Time

TEXT: John 13: 1-10

Rev. (Dr.) Stephen K. Awoniyi



On Sunday, April 21st, we talked about a father in the Middle East of Baghdad who sent his beloved son to a market place to run an errand.  When his son completed the assignment entrusted into his care and wanted to return home, he saw a beautiful lady whose face so much frightened him.  The son ran home and reported the story to his father.  The father took a horse, ran to the market place, and said to the lady, “why did you frighten my son this morning?”  The lady said she didn’t intend to stare or frighten his son but that it was his son that frightened her.  The lady continued saying, she was surprised to see his son in the Middle East of Baghdad because she supposed to have an appointment with him (the son) that day.

It was also indicated that each one of us have an appointment somewhere.   This appointment could be because of cancer, accident, or different types of diseases that devour us today.  Be aware that death awaits us as the concrete floor awaits the falling light bulb.  Nevertheless, when you fall into different categories of sadness, sorrow, and disappointment be assured that the almighty Father is there for you.  In today’s story the following steps will be viewed:

Step 1.  Jesus Christ Died for the Right Purpose

Brethren, I wish you understand that the Lord’s death is not the tragic end of a beautiful life, but rather, for the will of God.   This means His death accomplishes a great redemption for the people whom our Almighty Father has chosen.   That is, those whom the Father has given Him which is recorded in the Scripture thus:

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, [a] that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, [b] I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; [c] and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.

14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth (John 17: 9-17 (NKJV).

Behold Your Mother

Now there stood by the cross of Jesus His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.

It Is Finished

28 After this, Jesus, knowing[a] that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit (John 19: 25-30 (NKJV).

Be assured that our death does not accomplish redemption, but it is the means by which we experience the redemption that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplishes for us.  Death is the doorway by which we can leave the limitations and pains of this world in order to enter into the heavenly kingdom.  I wish you understand that the day of our death is the day of our glorification; therefore, death is the grand entrance and the door that swings into eternity.


Step 11:  Jesus Christ Died with the Right Commitment

                Brethren, be assured that death is known as a time of trust in God’s deliverance.  As our Lord Jesus Christ was still on the Cross He said thus;

46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”[a] Having said this, He breathed His last.

47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” 48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. 49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things (Luke 23: 46-49 (NKJV).

Be assured that our Lord Jesus Christ died by entrusting Himself to His Father whom He loves so much.   Therefore, you and I can also die by committing our lives into the hands of our heavenly Father, who is in heaven, who loves us so much.  This reminds me the story of the Apostle Peter who said:

8 I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.  9Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will rest in hope. 10 For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalms 16: 8-11 (NKJV).   

25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence (Acts 2: 25: 28 (NKJV).



What do you think that the Lord Almighty requires of you, and how perfect do you have to be in order to enter into heaven?  The answer is not difficult; you ought to be perfect as the Lord is perfect.  If you are not as perfect as the Lord Almighty, you can never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.  When Jesus Christ died on the Cross of Calvary, He made an atonement or sacrifice for we sinners.  Even-though He was righteous and perfect, but His Father made Him legally guilty for our sins.  The Scripture says;

Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. 21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5: 20-21 (NKJV).

The above statement could be interpreted thus, our Lord Jesus Christ was regarded as a sinner when He bore our sins, and we are regarded as saints when we receive His righteousness.    In order words, we are regarded as the righteousness of God.  Therefore, we must transfer all of our trust to the Lord as our sin-bearer; and believe in Him as the only person who did all that we will ever need to stand in His holy presence.    Finally, the Apostle Paul encouraged his followers thus:

Preach the Word

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at[a] His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

Paul’s Valedictory

6 For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2 Timothy 4:1-8 (NKJV).

How are you going to put what you have learned today into action? Be assured that the Lord has chosen you in order to seek for the lost and to bring them to faith in Christ Jesus.  I hope you will do this faithfully, honestly, and obediently.  God bless you!