THE LORD WILL SAVE YOU; HE’LL BLESS YOU IF YOU DO GOOD!

Today, we shall be looking at 2 Kings 2:1-25.  Elisha had just witnessed the extraordinary departure of Elijah, his boss, to heaven and for that reason; he got double the anointing of Elijah.  And shortly after that memorable event, the men of the city pleaded with him to help them make their water wholesome, and he did.  But as he was going up a road in Bethel, some youths appeared and mocked him on account of his being bald-headed.  Then, he turned around, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the Lord. And two female bears came out of the woods, and mauled forty-two of them.

I revisited this popular account recently, and I extracted a couple of points from it.  Please permit me to share three of them with you here to encourage you.  They are:

1.  You may suffer afflictions while doing good.  Elisha did a very good thing by healing the city’s water, but in return, he suffered the affliction of being abused by the youths.  Likewise, you may suffer afflictions which may crop up in form of pain, embarrassment, harassment, distress, etc., if you do good, especially for the Lord.  Jesus Christ confirmed this position in Mathew 24:9, when He said: ”…you will be handed over to be persecuted (afflicted) and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me”.  So, if you suddenly find out that your good works are being paid back with afflictions, please don’t be too alarmed, as such is common (Psalm 34:19a).

2.  You may be tempted to give up on doing good.  Many people would have given up on doing good, if they were in the position of Elisha.  Similarly, you may be tempted to give up on doing good, just to have some peace, if you are faced with afflictions.  Unfortunately, peace doesn’t usually come up that way!  I therefore advise you to cling unto God very strongly, and persist in doing good.  And like the Psalmist, let your battle cry be: ”Though an army may encamp against me, My heart shall not fear; Though war may rise against me, In this I will be confident” (Psalm 27:3).  Elisha didn’t give up and so, you shouldn’t as well!

3.  God will save you; He’ll bless you if you don’t give up on doing good.  Elisha did not give up on doing good for humanity and God and in return, He (God) saved him from the unruly youths (2 Kings 2:23-24) and then, throughout his ministry.  He also blessed Elisha’s ministry with monumental signs and wonders.   If you too, remain steadfast and persist in doing good, I assure you that God will bless you sooner or later.  Apostle Paul pointed this out in Galatians 6:9 as follows: ”And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart”.

Friend, I encourage you to be committed to doing good not only for God, but also for humanity at all times.  Use your modest or vast talents, opportunities, possessions, connections, etc., to make life comfortable for as many people as possible.  Kindly give sufficient/special consideration to the underprivileged people in your society.  Please love them, feed them, clothe them, preach to them, pray for/with them, and remember to win their Souls for Christ (this is absolutely important).  I must confess to you here that doing all above and more, may not be easy because the Devil will without a shred of doubt, go after you and bombard you with numerous afflictions.  He might even attempt to devour you (1 Peter 5:8) and you may find yourself wishing to give up.  Please don’t!  And if you remain firm to the end, you will be blessed and saved here on earth (Numbers 6:24), and when you get to Heaven, God will give you the highly coveted crown of life (James 1:12) in Jesus name.  Amen.

Jesus is Lord!

C Adedayo Stoney Adegbulu, 2013

THE BENEFITS OF TRIALS

Some time ago, I had a discussion with a young lady who was going through a lot of trials.  I noticed she was always upbeat and willing to serve the Lord. So, out of curiosity, I asked her what her secret was, and she said it was embedded in practicing what is written in James 1:2.  That is: “… count it all joy when you fall into various trials”.

My encounter with this young lady moved me a great deal; it soon prompted me to read around the word ‘trial’ more closely, and my first port of call was John 16:33. Part of it says: “…In the world you will have tribulation … (i.e. trial, trouble, ordeal, hardship, suffering, worry, difficulty, etc.).  From this passage, it is very clear that trial is a guaranteed part of life, which we cannot evade, no matter how much we try.

I also read that by nature, trials are more often than not temporary: For our light affliction (trial) which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17).  Besides, trials are profoundly beneficial at the end of the day; a position confirmed by Apostle Paul as follows: “…the sufferings (trials) of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us(Romans 8:18).

So what are the benefits of trials you may wish to ask at this point?  Well, there are many of them, but, I will consider only a few here, and I will use aspects of Apostle Paul’s life to back them up.  Trials:

1.  Promote skills

Saul (later called Paul) was legendary for his evil hatred for, and attack on Christians. At a point in time, he criss-crossed several localities and hauled Christians into jail without any justifiable reason, until Jesus Christ intervened, and turned him into one of His strongest followers.  But, the authorities were uncomfortable with his love for Christ, hence they inflicted him with great trials, including imprisonments.  It was while in prison that his writing skill was promoted to the level whereby he single-handedly authored more than half of the New Testament.

So, if you are undergoing any form of trial at the moment, please keep your peace, because this might just be an opportunity for God to lift you up, and make you more relevant to humanity and his Kingdom.  He sure can achieve these by promoting your skills.

2.  Demonstrate the power of God

Paul experienced the power of God each time he went through trial.  In Acts 16:16-26 for example, a young girl harassed himself and Silas so much that he was forced to cast out the evil spirit tormenting her.  And for that reason, they were beaten and jailed. But at midnight, while praying and singing hymns to God, there was a great earthquake, ostensibly engineered by God, which shook the prison to its foundation, opened its doors, loosed everyone’s chains, and set them free.  To cut a long story short, the power of God was demonstrated in their trial.  It can be demonstrated in yours too if you allow Him (Psalm 91:15).

3.  Promote righteousness

Hebrews 12:11 captured this view along these lines: “Now no chastening (i.e. reprimanding, disturbing, troubling, trial, etc.) seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”.

Each trial made Paul to become more righteous.  Fasting and prayer became a constant part of his life (Acts 27:21), and he was in tune with God as His servant (Acts 27:23-24). Likewise, God can use your trial to make you become more righteous. Please search what the bible says concerning it, fast, pray, and hand it over to God.  Most importantly, trust Him to set you free, and He will, in Jesus name.  Amen.

4.  Prove character

A person’s character is best proven during the time of trial.  Trials has a way of separating those who genuinely love God from those who pretend to do so.  Apostle Paul went through a lot of trials in his lifetime, yet, he remained committed to God unwaveringly.  That means he had a very good character, otherwise he would have abandoned God without batting an eye lid.  He later stated the link between trial and character thus: “…but we also glory in tribulations (trials) knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character… (Romans 5:3-4).

From now on, please quell your trials with good character, and don’t let your good character be quelled by trials.

Friend, it is quite clear from above that trials are not all about gloom and doom alone.  They are also beneficial to the children of God (Romans 8:28).  They promote skills, demonstrate the power of God, promote righteousness, and prove people’s character, among others.  Please, as from today, face your trials frontally with the help of the Holy Spirit, and He will rout them out and give you mouth-watering benefits afterwards, in Jesus name. Amen.

Jesus is Lord!

Dr Adedayo Stoney Adegbulu

TRIBULATION FOR REWARDS

In John 16:33, Jesus Christ said ”…In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world”. This is a very soothing admonition which kept the disciples of yore abreast of the inevitability of tribulations in life and the ability of Jesus to safeguard them. It is similarly soothing to us in this age and time.

Tribulations are a major part of life and they come in different forms and proportions. They can be hereditary (Genesis 3:1-24) or acquired (Genesis 4:1-14) in terms of origin and they are usually very discomforting. They affect everyone therefore, we shouldn’t be stunned by them (1 Peter 4:12). What is more, they don’t last forever and in most cases, they are ultimately beneficial (2 Corinthians 4:17, Romans 5:3-4).

So, what are tribulations and why does God permit them among Christians? Well, tribulations can be seen as ”severe trial or suffering”. They are synonymous with affliction, hardship, distress, adversity, etc. and God permit them for many reasons including:

1. To toughen us. As soldiers of Jesus Christ (2 Timothy 2:3), all Christians are bound to experience stints of tribulation to toughen us and to help us defeat our enemies which by the way, are spiritual and deadly (Ephesians 6:12). Please note that their defeat is not overly difficult as we have highly potent weapons at our disposal (2 Corinthians 10:4-5) which we can deploy against them with ease. However, we must seek to gain the skills essential to operate them well. This we can achieve through a continuous training program involving studying and correctly applying the words of God (highly potent (Hebrews 4:12)), fasting and prayers (Matthew 17:21) etc.

2. To prove our commitment to Him. For example, God allowed Job to go through series of tribulations to prove his commitment to Him. And in the process, he lost his children, wealth, dignity, health etc. still; he remained stoically committed to God. Soon, He restored all Job’s loses (Job 42:10) and blessed the latter part of his life more than the former (Job 42:12). Are you also experiencing tribulation(s) presently? If you are, God may be proving your commitment to Him hence don’t let Him down.

3. To show His power. In Acts 16:16-26, Paul and Silas were unduly beaten and imprisoned but they refused to ditch God because of their tribulation. Instead, they prayed and sang hymns to Him and He showed His power by causing a great earthquake which shook the prison to its foundations and made all its doors to open and everyone’s chains to loose. Are you facing any tribulation lately? If you are, fear not; God may be planning to show His power through you and He’ll save you (Isaiah 35:4) as He saved Paul and Silas.

4. To gain our attention. Saul (later Paul) was for a long time, too busy persecuting Christians to listen to God. Meanwhile, God needed him for His work on earth so; He subjected him to the tribulation of blindness (Acts 9:1-9) in order to gain his attention. He later served God meritoriously and to date, he is a celebrated Christian legend. Are you also too busy for God? Does your profession, business, wealth, family, education, ministry etc. take precedence over Him? If your answer is yes then, have a rethink very quickly because you cannot possibly succeed without Him (John 15:5). Please give Him your full attention henceforth!

Finally, kindly remember that God is with you at all times and He has no plans to do otherwise (Hebrews 13:5). With that at the back of your mind, please confront your tribulation(s) prayerfully and with great confidence that He will definitely help you at some point (Isaiah 41:10). In addition, please don’t stop serving and obeying God and He’ll reward you beyond your expectation in return (Deuteronomy 7:12-15). So shall it be in Jesus name. Amen.

Jesus is Lord!