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BIBLE STUDY

How Jesus Broke Our Curses

And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head…
John 19:2

JESUS WORE THE CROWN OF THORNS FOR YOU

If hard work is the formula for prosperity, then everyone who works hard should be prosperous. But this is certainly not the case. Many people who work very hard are still in lack!

I am not advocating laziness. What I am saying is that working hard by the sweat of your brow is not how God’s provision comes. In fact, if you have to work overtime all the time and are stressed out, you are probably operating under the curse.

What curse is that? It is this curse: “In the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread” (Genesis 3:19). And it refers to the stress, struggle and anxieties that come with working hard and yet producing little.

Now, work itself is not a curse since God gave Adam work before the fall—Adam was to tend the garden of Eden. It was only after he sinned that the land was cursed and it brought forth thorns, and man had to toil to eat of it (see Genesis 3:17–18).

But praise God, Jesus wore the thorns on His head to show you that He has borne this curse for you and redeemed you from it. He wore the crown of thorns so that you can work stress-free and yet have the results. You don’t have to be worried and stressed out day and night like the people of the world just to get ahead in life. Your heavenly Father can get you there without the worries and stress (see Matthew 6:31–33).

Beloved, every curse that was supposed to fall on your head fell on Jesus’ head, typified by the crown of thorns. He wore the crown of thorns for you so that you can have peace of mind. He wore the crown of thorns for you and took your curse so that you can wear the crown of glory and take His righteousness, and all the benefits of that righteousness!

Today, don’t labor and toil like the people of the world. Instead, expect to see the blessings of God come into your life without blood, sweat and tears because Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you!

Today, don’t labor and toil like the people of the world. Instead, expect to see the blessings of God come into your life without blood, sweat and tears because Jesus wore the crown of thorns for you!

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Devotion

The Power In The Name of Jesus

Philippians 2:8-11 KJV
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The Name of Jesus, has been given to us as a weapon, to conquer the devil, his agents and all his evil works. All authorities in heaven, on earth and beneath the earth, bows at the mention of the Name of the Lord. President’s, Kings and all those in authority, bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Witches and wizards bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Principalities, powers and spiritual wickedness in high places bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. The occult and all secret societies bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. Sicknesses and diseases bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. The Bible says, all knees bow at the mention of the Name of Jesus. This is good news for every child of the Most High God.

Many have however called the Name, Jesus in their trying moments, with no positive results. This must be as a result of sin or unbelief. The Bible tells us: “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity”. (2 Timothy 2:19).

When you make your declarations in the Name of the Lord, you must do so by faith, believing that it is done, and it shall be unto you according to your word. The Bible puts it thus: “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. (James 1:6-8).

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HOW TO BECOME LIKE JESUS

Every child of God wants to be more like Jesus. And, by God’s grace, this actually happens. The name the Bible gives to this process of becoming more Christ-like is “sanctification.” To be sanctified is to become more dedicated to God and separated from sin (Rom. 6:22). It is to live out the deep principles of salvation. In sanctification, believers become more like their Savior.

But how does this happen?

In one of the most important biblical texts on sanctification, Paul says that growing in godliness takes work: “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12–13). In sanctification, believers work and God works. But what do those two works look like and how do they relate to each other?

As we grapple with these questions, we should not soften the force of the Spirit’s words; any interpretation that minimizes either the work of man or of God in sanctification misses his point.

We Become Like Jesus by Working God’s Will

The main verb in verse 12 is plain: Work out your own salvation. Paul is definitely not saying, “Work at your own salvation,” or “Work up to earning salvation.” Paul is writing to those in whom God had already begun a work of salvation (cf. 1:6). God is not calling the lost to get saved; he’s calling the saved to get working.

What does it look like to work out salvation, to pursue sanctification?

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Reverence

Sanctification is a serious work; believers work out their salvation in “fear and trembling.” Believers grow in godliness as they gain a deeper respect for God, a stirring sense of awe over his greatness. Like Joseph, we stubbornly resist offending God in any way (Gen. 39:9).

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Obedience

Obedience and faith are not enemies—though this can be confusing. Whenever we put obedience prior to our acceptance by God we pervert the gospel. “By the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in [God’s] sight” (Rom. 3:20).

Suppose someone told you, “I am terribly lonely and need a friend. I will do anything you tell me if only you’ll love me.” You would be repulsed. But it’s quite different to hear someone say, “I have a friend who loves me so much, I can’t imagine her asking me to do anything that I wouldn’t gladly do.”

It is in that latter sense that Paul talks about obedience as a reflection of a heart that is freed from sin’s bonds (Rom. 6:17; cf. Acts 6:7).

  1. Sanctification Means Growing in Integrity

Sanctification is not mere compliance when people are watching. Paul urged the Philippians to be more faithful in his absence than in his presence. Paul contrasts “eye service” with sincere, heartfelt reverence to God (Col. 3:22). Someone who only obeys when watched is serving himself; he obeys to gain praise or avoid a penalty. Coerced obedience is a sign of spiritual immaturity.

Bottom line: Growth in godliness is hard work.

We Become More Like Jesus by Trusting in God’s Work

Without minimizing believers’ responsibility to work out their salvation, Paul further describes sanctification as a work of God’s sovereign grace (cf. Phil. 2:1–11). “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (v. 13; cf. 1 Thess. 5:23).

God’s “good pleasure” is to renew his children in true godliness. In the words of the seventeenth century Canons of Dort, he “infuses new qualities into the will… whereupon the will thus renewed is not only [turned on] and influenced by God, but in consequence of this influence becomes itself active.”[1] Paul’s message is not, “Work hard because God is working hard too.” God is not merely an example of human work. Instead, God’s gracious work in us more deeply wins us over to God and sways us to do his will.

Have you ever felt discouraged—even disgusted—about your perceived lack of progress in holiness? Have you ever feared that perhaps in the future you will be more sinful, less sanctified than you are now? These thoughts can be paralyzing. And that is exactly what the devil wants. “There’s no hope for you,” he suggests. “You’ll never amount to much of a Christian if you even are one. You’re a slave to sin. You’ve tried to fight it. But it’s no use. You’ll never be like God.”

Who has the heart to engage in work that is sure to fail?

But that is exactly Paul’s point; there is hope in succeeding! Because God is working for and in his children, their work toward sanctification is not futile. God is working in his children both to will and to do for His good pleasure! As Ligon Duncan has said, “Paul’s teaching is not that God accepts you so no change is necessary, but that God accepts you and therefore change is now possible.”[2]

Believers must work to believe the gospel, love God, fight sin, desire eternity, and serve others cheerfully. We work to grow in the knowledge of God’s Word so that we can joyfully obey everything God says. We strive to respect our conscience when it convicts us of wrong or encourages us in well-doing. But all this work is driven by God’s work in us. God actually cares about our sanctification more than we do. God wants us to find our joy in him and to say no to everything that detracts from true happiness. Sometimes that takes a lot of work!

But here is Paul’s invigorating point: God never demands that we work for him harder than he’s working in us.

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REVIVAL HOUR

Revival Hour

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Confession of sin is necessary for fellowship with God and revival among God’s people.  The word “confess” has the root meaning of “to say the same as.” Confession, then, is agreeing with God about your sin.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; test my thoughts. Point out anything in me that makes you sad, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.” Psalm 139:23-24 (TLB)

Below you will find a series of questions to help you think through areas of your life that may need cleansing. On reading these questions, as you are convicted of sin, confess it at once to God. Be willing to make it right. Then you can receive cleansing and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness”.

Be sure to name your sin to God. For example: Lord, I have not put You first in my plans, or, I have neglected Your Word and prayer. Do not make even one excuse for sin of any kind in your life. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He (or she) who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.”

You may wish to write down the specific sins that come to mind as you read the questions. Then, when you’re finished confessing, tear the paper into bits and throw it away as a reminder that God does indeed cleanse you from “all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9b). Embrace the promise of Psalm 103:12: “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Step into personal revival today. Use these questions to brave the depths of your heart, knowing that as you do, your heart is safe and secure in God’s hands.

  1. Matthew 6:12-15
    • Is there anyone against whom you hold a grudge?
    • Anyone you haven’t forgiven? Anyone you hate? Anyone you do not love?
    • Are there misunderstandings that you are unwilling to forget?
    • Is there any person against whom you are harboring bitterness, resentment, or jealousy?
    • Anyone you dislike to hear praised or spoken well of?
    • Do you allow anything to justify a wrong attitude toward another?
  2. Matthew 6:33
    • Is there anything in which you have failed to put God first?
    • Have your decisions been made after your own wisdom and desires, rather than seeking and following God’s will?
    • Do any of the following, in any way, interfere with your surrender and service to God: ambition, pleasures, loved ones, friendships, desire for recognition, money, or your plans?
  3. Mark 16:15
    • Have you failed to reach out to the lost for Christ?
    • Have you failed to witness consistently with your mouth for the Lord Jesus Christ?
    • Has your life not been a witness to the lost?
  4. John 13:35
    • Are you secretly pleased over the misfortunes of another?
    • Are you secretly annoyed over the accomplishments or advancements of another?
    • Are you guilty of any contention or strife?
    • Do you quarrel, argue, or engage in heated discussions?
    • Are you a partaker in any division that creates animosity between people?
    • Are there people whom you deliberately treat as unimportant?
  5. Acts 20:35
    • Have you robbed God by withholding His due of your time, talents, and treasure?
    • Have you failed to support Kingdom work either by service, prayer, or giving?
  6. 1 Corinthians 4:2
    • Are you undependable so that you cannot be trusted with responsibilities in the Lord’s work?
    • Are you allowing your emotions to be stirred for things of the Lord, but doing nothing about it?
  7. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
    • Are you careless in any way with your body?
    • Do you fail to care for it as the temple of the Holy Spirit?
    • Are you guilty of excess in eating or drinking?
    • Do you have any habits which defile your body?
  8. 1 Corinthians 10:31
    • Do you take credit for anything good about yourself, rather than give all the glory to God?
    • Do you talk of what you have done rather than of what Christ has done?
    • Do your statements begin mostly with ‘I’?
    • Are your feelings easily hurt?
    • Have you made a pretense of being something that you are not?
  9. Ephesians 3:20
    • Are you self-conscious rather than Christ-conscious?
    • Do you allow feelings of inferiority to keep you from serving God in new ways?
  10. Ephesians 4:28
    • Do you underpay?
    • Do you do very little in your work?
    • Have you been careless in the payment of your debts?<
    • Have you sought to evade payment of debts?
    • Do you waste time? Do you waste others’ time?
  11. Ephesians 4:31
    • Do you complain?
    • Do you find fault?
    • Do you have a critical attitude towards any person or thing?
    • Are you irritable or cranky?
    • Do you ever carry hidden anger?
    • Do you become impatient with others?
    • Are you ever harsh or unkind?
  12. Ephesians 5:16
    • Do you listen to unedifying radio or TV programs?
    • Do you read degrading magazines or websites?
    • Do you find it necessary to seek satisfaction from any questionable source?
    • Are you doing certain things that show you are not satisfied in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  13. Ephesians 5:20
    • Have you neglected to thank Him for all things: the seemingly bad as well as the good?
    • Have you virtually called God a liar by doubting His Word?
    • Do you worry?
    • Is your spiritual temperature based on your feelings instead of on the facts of God’s Word?
  14. Philippians 1:21
    • Are you taken up with the cares of this life?
    • Is your joy found more in things than in the Lord and His Word?
    • Does anything mean more to you than living for and pleasing Christ?
  15. Philippians 2:14
    • Do you ever, by word or deed, seek to hurt someone?
    • Do you gossip?
    • Do you speak unkindly concerning people when they are not present?
    • Do you carry prejudice against Christians because they are of some different group than yours or because they do not see everything exactly as you do?
  16. Philippians 4:4
    • Have you neglected to seek to please God in all things?
    • Do you carry any bitterness toward God?
    • Have you been dissatisfied with His provision for you?
    • Is there any unwillingness in your heart to obey God fully?
    • Do you have any reservations as to what you would or would not do concerning anything that might be His will?
    • Have you disobeyed some direct leading from Him?
  17. Colossians 3:9
    • Do you engage in empty and unprofitable conversation?
    • Do you ever lie?
    • Do you ever exaggerate? Cheat? Steal?
    • Do you overcharge?
  18. 2 Timothy 2:22
    • Do you have any personal habits that are not pure?
    • Do you allow impure thoughts about the opposite sex to stay in your mind?
    • Do you read that which is impure or suggests unholy things?
    • Do you indulge in any entertainment that is unclean?
    • Are you guilty of looking lustfully at others?

If you are looking for a deeply satisfying relationship with God, I encourage you to pray by faith and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, God has given you His Holy Spirit to help you live life according to His perfect plan. Why not pray this simple prayer and by faith invite Him to fill you with His Spirit:

Dear Father, I need You. I acknowledge that I have sinned against You by directing my own life. I thank You that You have forgiven my sins through Christ’s death on the cross for me. I now invite Christ to again take His place on the throne of my life. Fill me with the Holy Spirit as You commanded me to be filled, and as You promised in Your Word that You would do if I asked in faith. I pray this in the name of Jesus. As an expression of my faith, I thank You for directing my life and for filling me with the Holy Spirit. Amen.



Sending
© Thoughts about God




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Devotion

Know The Plans of God For You


With all the negative news in the media, today I want to share with you some good news. God is still God, and he knows the plans that he has for you. That doesn’t mean that life will get easier. The famous verse in Jeremiah we like to quote was written to people in captivity for seventy years! But it is still true. Regardless of what today brings, God is still God.Hear God’s Word in Jeremiah 29:11.

I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Precious one, be blessed with the love of Christ for emotional healing. The psalmist said that his body was troubled, and his soul was greatly troubled (Psalm 6:2-3). Be blessed with peace and hope being restored to you. The mind may have witnessed an event it can’t cope with. The body may react physically under duress, the soul weeps. It is a total body reaction. Be blessed, spirit, soul, and body, to be healed in the root cause of all disturbance of your peace. Be blessed to reject all lies at the root. Let the power of the Holy Spirit address the lie, and be set free.

Hear the Good news: It’s not too late. In the defining message of his life in Luke 4:18, Jesus said that he would set the captives free. If you feel captive in any way because of emotional wounding, be blessed with his love, redemption, and power to flood you and release you. Be blessed in your brain, your mind, and your memory, particularly the part that is holding on to any issues. Receive the compassion of Jesus to address any emotional concern. He is mighty to deal with any depression or other aftermath or backlash. Receive the light of his healing grace into everything that is out of God’s order.

Jesus opened the minds of the travelers on the way to Emmaus so that they could understand him in the Scriptures. Understand his words to you. Jesus said to Paul,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul replied, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9-12).

Precious one, boast in your wounds by declaring that the power of Jesus is in you to heal them. You have the treasure of your life in a human “jar of clay” to show that he is your all-surpassing power to accomplish his plans for your welfare (2 Corinthians 4:7).

Hear Jeremiah 29:12-14.

“‘In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you,’ says the Lord. ‘I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and bring you home again to your own land.‘”

God’s thoughts toward you are for peace. His plans in you are for healing, not for hurt or negativity or sadness. He promised the all-surpassing power of his love. He will accomplish his hope, his future, and his well-being in you. When you seek him, he hears you. He lets you find him to bring you back from your captivity, whatever it is. His best for you is peace, wholeness, and security.

Be blessed today in the name of the Prince of peace
(Isaiah 9:6)


If you have never surrendered your life to Christ, you can start today. Simply say this prayer and your journey with Christ will begin:

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I want to trust you from now on. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of my life. Make me be the person You want me to be. Thank you for enabling me to trust you in these uncertain times. Amen.

Another Sample Prayer:

Dear God, today I bring you my life, my hopes, my dreams, my deepest yearnings … You know me intimately. You knew me even before I was formed in the womb. You called me into this world to do good and live the life I was uniquely and specifically created for. I ask for Courage and Wisdom to live this life–the life of my dreams. Show me where to start and help me be open to hearing your Voice today. I ask for a greater consciousness of your Presence, today and every day of my life. Amen.

It starts now!


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


Sending

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Devotion

Simple Ways to Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness


Do you sometimes find it difficult to believe that you have total forgiveness for your sins in Jesus Christ? Intellectually you believe it, but how about deep within your heart?

Imagine yourself in the crowd as this story takes place as recorded in the Book of Luke:

Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven!”

“Who does this fellow think he is?” the Pharisees and teachers of the Law exclaimed among themselves. “This is blasphemy! Who but God can forgive sins?”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and He replied, “Why is it blasphemy? I, the Messiah, have the authority on earth to forgive sins…I’ll prove it to you by healing this man.” Then, turning to the paralyzed man, he commanded, “Pick up your stretcher and go on home, for you are healed!” (Luke 5:18-20,24, The Living Bible).

What a marvelous illustration of God’s willingness to forgive.

We Have Been Set Free
God’s holy Word tells us that Jesus Christ, through His death on the cross, has set us free – free from sin, free from the Law, free from the of guilt that sin and the Law bring.

Follow us on:

Maybe you are finding it difficult to believe in your heart that your sin has been paid for. Perhaps you are thinking, “I have lustful thoughts toward another person.” Or, “I’ve been taking the Lord’s name in vain. God won’t forgive that, will He?”

The fact is, He has forgiven you if you have placed your trust in Christ. You simply need to claim His forgiveness and believe His promise. And what a promise it is:

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11,12).

That’s the forgiveness God offers. And think of it! It became yours the moment you believed in Jesus Christ as your Savior and as an act of your will received Him by faith into your life as your Lord and Master.

The Greatest Relationship You Will Ever Experience
Find out the reason Jesus came to earth
Jesus of Nazareth is unparalleled – He is the most remarkable, the most powerful and the most attractive personality of all time. To know Him personally as your Savior and Lord is the basis of the greatest relationship you can ever have, because only through Jesus can you experience God’s love and forgiveness.

Let me explain why.

Jesus Claimed to Be God
One winter during the Feast of Dedication (Hanukkah), Jesus was walking in Solomon’s Colonnade of the temple in Jerusalem. A crowd gathered around Him demanding, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

“I did tell you,” He answered, “but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me…I and the Father are one” (John 10:22–25,30).

Our Lord’s claim is reinforced by the fact that He fulfilled prophecy. Hundreds of years before Jesus came to earth, various prophets of Israel foretold His miraculous birth, the place of His birth, His divine character, the purpose of His ministry, how He would die and that He would be raised to life. These prophecies represent only a few of the many predictions made about Jesus’ life, ministry, death and resurrection. And He fulfilled every one down to the very last detail.

After His cruel crucifixion, Jesus demonstrated that He was God by rising from death and appearing over a period of forty days to hundreds of people, as many as five hundred in a single meeting. Then, as His followers watched in wonder, Jesus returned to heaven, having promised a continuing relationship with those who love Him.

God’s holy, inspired Word also affirms Jesus’ claim. The apostle Paul records,

“He promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:2–4).

Jesus Came to Provide the Life You Need
Jesus didn’t live on earth just to prove He is God. He came to give you eternal life, to offer you forgiveness and set you free from sin and guilt, to give you a full and meaningful life here on earth. And it’s because Jesus is God that He can provide forgiveness from sin and enable you to live abundantly.

In a conversation with a religious leader of His day, Jesus said,

“God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16,17).

Paul wrote,

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1,2).

A rich and satisfying life is the heritage of every Christian. Jesus intended the Christian life to be an exciting, abundant adventure. He promised,

“I have come that [you] may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).

When you walk in a close relationship with our Lord, and in the control of God’s Holy Spirit, every day is filled with wonder, meaning, and purpose – your life overflows with desirable qualities:

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22,23).

But most Christians don’t experience the abundant life. The life of joy and victory modeled and promised by our Lord is strangely foreign to them. Instead, they consider the Christian life a burden, a chore, a terrible cross to bear. They endure their Christianity on earth, hoping at last for relief in heaven.

Jesus never intended for you to live a defeated, dreadful existence. He called you to a life of joy and victory. Whatever the circumstance you are in – comfort or conflict, abundance or need, health or sickness, freedom or persecution – our Lord promises peace (John 14:27; 16:33). He said He would never leave you, and that He will do anything you ask in His name (Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20; John 14:14).

God has promised you, as a Christian, a legacy of support, abundance and joy. Why, then, are so few Christians really enjoying their inheritance? Let me ask you: Are you living a joyous, fruitful life?

In his introduction to Letters to Young Churches, J. B. Phillips writes:

“The great difference between present-day Christianity and that of which we read in these letters [the New Testament epistles] is that to us it is primarily a performance, to them it was a real experience. We are apt to reduce the Christian religion to a code, or at best a rule of heart and life. To these men it is quite plainly the invasion of their lives by a new quality of life altogether. They do not hesitate to describe this as Christ “living in” them…Perhaps if we believed what they believed, we could achieve what they achieved.”

The first-century church rocked their world. Filled with the Spirit and compelled by the love of God, the early church took the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness to the entire known world. Never before had any small body of ordinary men and women made such an impact on the world.

Those Christians were a group of ordinary people, like you and me, who knew the love and forgiveness of God. Controlled and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, they reached out in love to people living under the tyranny of an evil empire.

You Can Influence Your World
If you have experienced God’s love and forgiveness in your life, you too can influence your world.

The world today is filled with anxiety, fear and crisis. So much of the world is in a state of chaos. Nothing characterizes the mood of our day more than the word “upheaval.” In every facet of society and in every country of the world, there is upheaval – politically, socially, economically, even religiously.

In America, for example, we are witnessing epidemics of crime, drug addiction and alcoholism, ography, AIDS and venereal disease, abortion, broken homes and divorce – just to mention a few of the serious problems facing our nation.

Countless human solutions have been proposed, and yet the crisis becomes increasingly worse. People are searching as never before for peace in their troubled relationships, for answers to the gnawing emptiness in their lives, for something more.

Through the process of elimination, many are now beginning to turn back to God. Never before has there been such an ideal climate for presenting the claims of Christ. The Spirit of God has created an unprecedented hunger in hearts. People are turning to Christ in increasing numbers and are experiencing God’s marvelous love and forgiveness.

Even so, a relatively small number of Christians are involved in this great harvest. In the midst of these tremendous opportunities, most Christians have not entered into the joy of reaping the harvest God has prepared. The vast majority of believers live in spiritual impotence, defeat and sterility. The average lay person and even many pastors seldom, if ever, introduce another person to Christ.

Unfortunately, many Christians do not display a quality of life that encourages others to desire a relationship with our Lord. Some believers do not even display a quality of life that encourages others to have a relationship with them.

You Can Change from Living a Fruitless Life
Through Jesus Christ, you can experience the full and abundant life God promised.
In speaking to millions of Christians around the world, I have found that most defeated, frustrated, fruitless believers want to change, but they do not know what to do. I have a message of hope and help for them and for you: You can change from living a defeated, fruitless life. You can experience the full and abundant life God has promised to all of His children through Jesus Christ.

One day as I was driving in an unfamiliar city, I made a wrong turn and found myself driving against traffic on a one-way street. People on the sidewalk called to me that I was going the wrong direction. But I had already realized that in the split-second after I turned. My problem was not to decide whether I was going in the right direction – it was how to get turned around! Soon, through the help of a friendly policeman, I succeeded in changing my direction and went on my way relieved and happy, driving with the traffic. It is the same in the Christian life. If you make a wrong turn and find yourself defeated and frustrated, you do not just need to be told you are traveling in the wrong direction, you need someone to help you get turned around. In this article I want to show you how you can get turned around and follow God’s direction.

The Bible, God’s holy, inspired Word, provides this guidance. Paul wrote:

“The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone” (2 Timothy 3:16,17, TLB).

The Bible not only instructs you, but it can show where you have turned in the wrong direction, give you assistance in making your course correction, and then train you to continue in the right way.

To find the solution for misguided, unfruitful Christians, it is important to know what the Bible says about the source of the problem. It reveals that there are three kinds of people in the world:

the natural person,
the spiritual man,
and the worldly believer.

Let me share briefly the characteristics of these three types of people:

  1. The Natural Person
    Before you became a Christian, you were what the Scripture calls a “natural” person:

natural person

The circle represents your life, and the throne represents your control center or will. You were living under Satan’s dominance, and your fleshly nature – directed by Satan – was “on the throne,” controlling your life. Christ was outside of your life, knocking at the door, wanting to liberate you from Satan’s dominance through His love and forgiveness.

The Bible describes the natural person this way:

“You were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts” (Ephesians 2:1–3).

The natural person considers the things of the Spirit of God as foolishness. Paul writes:

The natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14, NKJ).

Relying entirely on your own resources, you were spiritually dead to God and separated from Him because of sin.

Then you surrendered your life to Jesus Christ.

  1. The Spiritual Man
    spiritual man

At your invitation, Christ entered your life and took the throne to guide you and strengthen you to live for Him. At that moment, His Holy Spirit came to live within you, gave you new birth, sealed you for heaven, and baptized you into the body of believers. With Christ (Spirit) on the throne, you are “filled” (directed and empowered) by the Holy Spirit.

The spiritual man understands the things of God. The apostle Paul records:

“God has actually given us his Spirit (not the world’s spirit) to tell us about the wonderful free gifts of grace and blessing that God has given us…. Only those who have the Holy Spirit within them can understand what the Holy Spirit means…. The spiritual man has insight into everything…. Strange as it seems, we Christians actually do have within us a portion of the very thoughts and mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:12,14–16, TLB).

The act of staying “filled” with the Spirit is the act of deliberately keeping Christ on the throne of your life. He will not demand control against your will. If, despite His guidance and warning, you wish to yield to the influence of your flesh and wrest control away from Him for a period of overt or covert sin, He will sorrowfully step down. When you are in this state of unconfessed sin, God’s Word describes you as one who is “worldly” or “carnal.”5

  1. The Worldly Believer
    worldly believer

There is a vast difference between a Christian and a non-Christian. The Scripture clearly teaches in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” Also, “Anyone who says he is a Christian should live as Christ did” (1 John 2:6, TLB).

But often, as Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3, the worldly Christian acts like the non-believer, and it is very difficult to tell the difference between them.

The worldly Christian is one who has received Christ but who also has allowed his sinful nature to reclaim the throne through sin. God still has possession of this person, and Christ is still in his life, but the individual has fallen into sin in one or more areas of his life. Not yielded to God, the worldly believer is in a period of stunted spiritual growth because he is not confessing and repenting of his sins, and Satan has succeeded in influencing and controlling him through the flesh.

Paul wrote to the Christians of Corinth:

“Dear brothers, I have been talking to you as though you were still just babies in the Christian life, who are not following the Lord, but your own desires; I cannot talk to you as I would to healthy Christians, who are filled with the Spirit. I have had to feed you with milk and not with solid food, because you couldn’t digest anything stronger. And even now you still have to be fed on milk. For you are still only baby Christians, controlled by your own desires, not God’s…In fact, you are acting like people who don’t belong to the Lord at all” (1 Corinthians 3:1–3, TLB).

The worldly or carnal Christian certainly experiences the conviction of the Holy Spirit and will not continue in his sins indefinitely; otherwise, he is possibly not a Christian at all. But defeated and fruitless, he depends on self-effort and energy to live the Christian life instead of drawing on the supernatural, inexhaustible resources of the Holy Spirit. Grasping self-interest in one hand and groping for God’s blessing with the other, this person fails again and again to live the Christian life in the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.

The state of carnality, or unconfessed sin, is a miserable existence. Yet, sadly, this is where millions of Christians rest today—back on the throne of their lives—and they often don’t realize that they are in this fleshly category. One man told me he had heard his pastor talk about worldly Christians all of his life, but he always thought his pastor meant somebody else. It surprised and shocked him to discover that he was a worldly Christian.

Paul knew what it meant to be worldly. In Romans 7 he records:

“The law is good, then, and the trouble is not there but with me, because I am sold into slavery with Sin as my owner.

I don’t understand myself at all, for I really want to do what is right, but I can’t. I do what I don’t want to – what I hate. I know perfectly well that what I am doing is wrong, and my bad conscience proves that I agree with these laws I am breaking. But I can’t help myself, because I’m no longer doing it. It is sin inside me that is stronger than I am that makes me do these evil things.

I know I am rotten through and through so far as my old sinful nature is concerned. No matter which way I turn I can’t make myself do right. I want to but I can’t. When I want to do good, I don’t; and when I try not to do wrong, I do it anyway. Now if I am doing what I don’t want to, it is plain where the trouble is: sin still has me in its evil grasp” (Romans 7:14–20, TLB).

Does this passage of Scripture describe your present relationship with God?

In Detroit, Michigan, an elderly couple was taken to the hospital, suffering from malnutrition and starvation. When police began to search through their rubbish-cluttered home, they discovered $40,000 in cash hidden away among their belongings. They had long since forgotten that they possessed such wealth.

In a similar manner, the worldly Christian lives in spiritual poverty, much like a practicing atheist: Professing to believe in God, he acts as though God doesn’t exist or is unwilling to help. He fails to understand the significance of Jesus’ death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Christ not only paid the price for his sins, but actually broke the power of sin in his life.

Paul understood the anguish and frustration of attempting to live the Christian life in the energy of self-effort. He records:

“It seems to be a fact of life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. In my mind I want to be God’s willing servant but instead I find myself still enslaved to sin.

So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in. Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature?” (Romans 7:21–24, TLB).

Have you ever asked, “Who will free me from my ugly self, my failures and defeats?” There is good news! Look at Paul’s answer:

“Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free” (Romans 7:25, TLB).

Destructive Like a Spiritual Cancer
A pastor of a large church came to talk to me after I had presented a message on how to experience God’s love and forgiveness. He was filled with hatred and resentment toward the lay leaders of his previous church because he felt they had done him great harm and had even tried to destroy his ministry.

The pastor had now realized that in his attempts to get even he had turned into a mean, critical, worldly Christian. He had come to the point of either getting right with God or getting out of the pastorate. As he put it, “This cancerous worldliness is destroying my life and ministry.”

As we knelt together to claim the love and forgiveness of God, his tears of repentance were followed by tears of joy. Several days later he went to visit the church leaders whom he had hated before, and when he told them that he loved them and asked them to forgive him, the leaders responded with joy and Christian love. This dear pastor returned to his second church with a heart burning with love and zeal for our Lord.

A businessman from another church came to see me one day, greatly distressed because his church was splitting.

“Half of our members are going to move out and start another church,” he said.

This distressed me, too, because I cannot think of anything more tragic than for a body of Christians to be divided.

As we talked, the man discovered and admitted that he was a worldly Christian. I explained to him how God had made provision for him to be a spiritual person. He did not need to continue to live as a worldly, carnal Christian. Finally, we knelt together and prayed. He asked forgiveness for his sins and invited God to fill and control his life by the Holy Spirit. As we rejoiced together over what God had done, he said, “You know, there won’t be any problems in my church now. You see, I’m the one who has been causing all the trouble.”

Unfortunately, the acid of worldliness doesn’t just burn into churches. It also dissolves marriages, homes, families and jobs. You may have felt its affect in your life as relationships with loved ones have deteriorated and friends have become mere acquaintances.

Experience God’s Love and Forgiveness

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SERMON: TEACH US HOW TO PRAY LORD -DISCIPLES

We are going to study the book of Luke chapterv11.
Do you know what that is this morning? Do I know what that is? Not just simply to pray generally…but to actually come to God with specific requests and to get from God specific answers…


we’re turning to Luke chapter 11 and verse 1: “And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples”. – it was the fact that they saw Jesus praying, it was after they saw Him rise from prayer that they asked Him to teach them to pray, because they saw the way in which He prayed.

Verse 2: “And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened”

FOLLOW US ON:

Let’s come before the Lord, just as we come to His word, and ask His help in a word of prayer: Our dear Father, we come to Thee, as our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to pray, and we ask of Thee help, this morning. We seek the power of God to be in this place, we knock upon the door of God and ask that it may be opened unto us, and Lord, dear God, You would grace us with Thy presence. Help me I pray today, fill me I pray with the blessed Spirit of the living God. For Christ’s sake. Amen.

‘The atomic bomb will never go off, and I speak as an explosive expert’. That is what Admiral Leahey (sp?) said in 1945 – and we all know that the atomic bomb did go off. An aviation expert, Octave Channet (sp?), predicted these words, and I quote:

'Aeroplanes will eventually go fast, they will be used for sport, but they are not to be thought of as commercial vehicles'.

And we know what happens today is that thousands of people weekly, daily even, are shuttled across our world by large jumbo jets. Perhaps more significant, one man, Lieutenant Joseph Ives (sp?) in 1861, after his exploration of the Grand Canyon in the US of A, he stated abruptly: ‘The Grand Canyon is of no value at all, it is altogether useless’, he went on to say, ‘Ours has been the first and, indeed, doubtless the last party of white people to visit this profitless location’.

You all know this morning that the Grand Canyon brings in more tourists in the United States than any other scene there. But what was this? Three seemingly experts that dictated negatively about something that has been proven today to be absolutely positive. There is, as we read their statements, a spirit of negativism. In their predictions, in what they have said, it resounds [through] it all – they think of something and they say it will never, ever happen. But if you turn with me, not just to the passage that we read together this morning, but to Mark’s Gospel and chapter 11 and verse 24, we read similar words to the words that we read earlier. The Lord Jesus Christ said in chapter 11 and verse 24: ‘Therefore I say unto you, What things so ever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them’.

I want to relate to you a personal story from my own life. On one occasion I preached within a church, and I preached on this verse that I’ve just read in Mark chapter 11. And after it, I was imploring and exhorting and encouraging the people of God to ask God for their desires according to His will, to claim His promises, to put their faith in God and His word. And after it I was pulled over by a senior gentleman in the church, and he began to go into all sorts of spiritual and theological contortions in order to show me that that verse of Scripture is not for today. Is it? Or is it not?

We read in church history of a man called George Mueller, and this man in the last century was a man who – personally speaking – he moved the obstacle of unbelief in his own life. He testified of himself that, ‘God has never failed me yet’. And in seventy years of looking after young children and orphans he testified that God – as 9500 orphans had gone through his hands – God had provided every single meal for them. In his seventy years of life he testified – and remember it’s last century we’re talking about – that he received $7,500,000 – that was last century! He declared that he had no committees, he had no collectors, there was no voting, there was no endowment or envelopes, all he had was faith in God. It was God answering to believing prayer.

One of the incidents that is written in his biography, is about when this man – George Mueller, this man of prayer and intercession and faith – was going on a journey to Canada, to preach in the city of Toronto. We read within the story that something awful happened on his journey, that a very dense fog fell upon the ship and the whole of the ocean. Suddenly, to the captain’s door there was a great knocking. And there, as the captain opened the door, was George Mueller standing there. He said to the captain: ‘Sir, I must be in Toronto to preach tomorrow’. The captain stared right into his face and he said, ‘Well sir, there is simply nothing I can do about this, because I am not moving from where I am for fear of colliding with another vessel – and you will have to wait until the weather makes that possible’. George Mueller looked at him and said, ‘In forty years of serving God I have never missed an appointment yet, and I will be there’. And he implored the captain to drop to his knees, and both of them fell on their knees and Mueller – he did not shout, he did not cry – he simply, in simple faith, implored God that He would lift the fog and that tomorrow he would be in Toronto. Then the captain began to pray, and as soon as he had started to pray Mueller tapped his shoulder and he says, ‘You don’t need to pray, sir. Because you don’t believe’. The man was a little irate, a little annoyed at this wasting – as he saw it – of his time and he walked immediately out of his cabin – only to be absolutely astonished, because the fog had lifted. Mueller stood with a look upon his face as if to say, ‘I knew it, I knew this would happen’, because Mueller was a man who knew what it was to pray to God, but not just to pray to God, but to have God answer his prayers.

Do you know what that is this morning? Do I know what that is? Not just simply to pray generally, ‘Lord, if it’s Your will I pray that You’ll do it’. Not just to come before God and pray for all the missionaries, and to pray for all the pastors, and preachers, and all of God’s people, and all of the sick – but to actually come to God with specific requests and to get from God specific answers.

There are three things that I want to leave with you this morning in relation to answers and prayer. The first thing I want to deal with is this: some of the prophets of prayer in the Old Testament. Then I want us to look at the prayer of faith within the New Testament. And then quickly if we have time I want us to look at some practical hints concerning answers to prayer.

Simply what I want to show you quickly this morning is this: that the Old Testament saints of God knew what it was to have their prayers answered. What was the key?
The first thing is this: prophets of prayer. I don’t know about you this morning, but my mind goes back to John chapter 3 and verse 10, where there was a man standing there in the middle of the evening, in the middle of the night – for fear of the Jews – before the Lord Jesus Christ. And the Lord Jesus Christ turned to him concerning the new birth and He said this to him, ‘Art thou a master in Israel and knowest not these things?’. As I look at answers to prayer, I feel like him. Am I a person who has been saved for many years, am I perhaps a leader within the church of Jesus Christ – and could it be that many of us do not know what it is to pray to God and be sure of His answer? I must say, and I must confess that, in over ten years of being a Christian, I have never ever heard a message on the prayer of faith. Could that be one of the reasons why, today, so little prayer we think – or we believe – is answered, but if we look at the prophets of prayer in the Old Testament we see some mighty men and mighty women.

If you were to turn to Joshua chapter 10 this morning, you would see that man of God, Joshua, in the midst of a battle – and they were almost prevailing within the battle, but the night is rapidly approaching, and therefore they realize that they need a few more hours in which to prevail in which to get the Lord’s victory. And Joshua, realizing the distressing situation, he drops to his bended knees, depending upon God, and cries ‘Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, moon, on the valley of Ajalon’ – and it says that in answer to his prayers God granted it, and the sun stood still.

If you were to turn to 1 Samuel chapter 1 and verses 10 to 17, you’d see a woman staggering into the temple of God and falling on her knees – she is in absolute turmoil and anguish, so much so that Eli the priest thinks she is drunk. But then he realizes that this woman can’t even find words for her prayers, her heart is breaking because her womb is barren. And then as she is before God, she cries from the depths of her soul, and Eli looks on and he asks that the God of Israel may grant thee thy petition. And as we read on in that chapter what do we find? We find that God gave to that woman, Hannah, Samuel the great man of God, in answer to her prayer.

Then, almost miraculously, more so than these events that I have been describing – if you do turn with me to Judges 15, you see here another great event, in the life of Samson. Judges 15 and beginning to read at verse 14: ‘And when he came unto Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him: and the spirit of the Lord came mightily upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands loosed from off his hands. And he found a new jawbone of an ass, and put forth his hand, and took it, and slew a thousand men therewith. And Samson said, With the jawbone of an ass, heaps upon heaps, with the jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and called that place Ramathlehi. And he was sore athirst, and called on the Lord, and said, Thou hast given this great deliverance into the hand of thy servant: and now shall I die for thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised? But’, it says, ‘God clave an hollow place that was in the jaw, and there came water thereout; and when he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he was revived’.

Often the reason why we receive so little is because we ask for so little – and most Christians want so little today, because they are satisfied with so little…
Now if you’re a rationalist this morning, and you look at that, you can’t make any sense out of it. If you believe in logic today, you look at that passage of scripture and you see Samson, you can’t even make head nor tail out of him slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass – but the message this morning from the Lord is this: God can even use the jawbone of an ass. But more than that: Samson turns round to the God who has given him deliverance and given him victory and he says, ‘I have slain all these in Thy name and now I’m going to die of thirst, what are You going to do about it?’. And God cleaves a hollow in the jawbone of that ass and gives him water to drink. My friend these are only three, three of the prophets of prayer, and simply what I want to show you quickly this morning is this: that the Old Testament saints of God knew what it was to have their prayers answered.

What was the key? This is where I want to come to the prayer of faith. What was the key? Look at Luke chapter 11 again, our passage this morning: What does the Lord Jesus say?. ‘I say unto you’ – now let me say this, when the Lord Jesus Christ says, ‘I say unto you’, that means there is no argument about it. If He said it, it is true, because it is the blessed Lord Jesus Christ speaking. And let me say, in reference to the man who asked me whether this passage of Scripture was for today and for the church of Jesus Christ today: was the Lord Jesus Christ truthful? Or was He a liar? When He said, ‘When you ask, you receive what you ask for’, was He true? Or did He not mean what He said? He said it, ‘I say unto you’, what does He say? ‘Ask’, that is: vocally ask with your mouth. Ask God, cry unto the God your Maker for what you need, for what is your want, for what is your heart’s desire. ‘Ask’, and then it says ‘Seek’, that is not from your mouth, but that is from your heart – and you don’t even need to speak to pray, you don’t even need to get on your knees, you can be walking, you can be talking, you can be singing, you can be driving, but you can be seeking, you can be desiring after something in your heart, and God will answer. ‘Knock’, that is a loud asking, a loud imploring, where you implore God that He must, in answer to your prayers, give you what you ask. He has promised, ‘I say unto you’. It is a promise, it cannot fail, he has promised, ‘Ask and you shall receive’, and it is heard – it is heard in heaven.

You know it’s possible for Christians to ask too little, but it is impossible for the Christian to ask too much. Let me say this, this morning: that often the reason why we receive so little is because we ask for so little – and most Christians want so little today, because they are satisfied with so little. We need to learn what the prayer of faith is. There are four things that I want us to learn this morning. The prayer of faith is the prayer that God answered. And the first thing that you need within the prayer of faith is this: perseverance. You see it doesn’t matter how good a pray-er you are, it doesn’t matter how good a preacher you are, in fact Hoover Hodge said this: ‘I am even now convinced that the difference between the saints like Wesley, Fletcher, Edwards, Brainerd, Bramwell and ourselves is energy, perseverance and the invincible determination to exceed, or die, in the attempt to get your heart’s desires’.

It’s not someone with great talents that God needs, it’s not someone with great preaching ability or great learning that God needs, but it is men great in holiness, men great in faith, men great in fidelity, men great for God. What do we read in Luke chapter 18 and verse 7 with regards to perseverance and prayer? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself spoke and said, ‘Shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him?’ God has to answer! God will answer! There must be perseverance, but we dealt with that last week and I don’t want to go on too much about it. But you see effective prayer and effectual prayer doesn’t depend on the power of the pray-er. This is the key – if you want to have your prayers answered today, tomorrow and the rest of the week remember these three things: you must claim His promises, His prophecies and His providences. His promises, His prophecies and His providences.

You know it’s possible for Christians to ask too little, but it is impossible for the Christian to ask too much…
In James chapter 1 and verse 6 we read: ‘Let him ask’, let the believer, the man of God ask, ‘in faith, with never a doubt’. But what is faith? What does it mean to pray in faith? I believe that many Christians today, and much of the church of Jesus Christ, has this idea that faith is something that they muster up within themselves, and they go over and over again in their mind: ‘I must believe, I will believe, God will do it’ – until they try to convince themselves psychologically and emotionally that God is going to answer their prayers. That is not biblical faith. What do we read in Romans and chapter 10? Verse 17 says: ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’. And if you break that equation down a little this morning, what it says is this: faith comes by the word of God. Hearing is the medium, faith is the method. Faith comes by the word of God, this is our faith delivered to us, but it is the promises of God that we are to look upon, we are to read and inwardly digest that will cultivate, that will produce faith within the depths of our soul and our spirit. It is the word of God, we are to take the promises of God, we are to stand upon His promises that will not fail, as we have been singing. We are to take God at His word, we are to believe Him – but what are we to believe?

I believe that faith is not without evidence. What I mean is simply this: that I could go to anyone here in this gathering, and lay my hand upon you and say, ‘You are to be healed’. Or I could go to you and tell you that you are going to get that job, or that you are going to do wondrous things for God, or that your life is going to be changed, I could say many things to you – but what is what I am saying based upon? You see, we can be sure that God answers our prayers, but we can only be sure when our prayers are based upon the word of God and are in accordance with His promises. You say to me, ‘David, well how do I pray in faith?’. Simply this: you take the promises of God and you claim them! When was the last time you did that? That is faith! Taking God at His word and bringing His word to Him and saying ‘Lord, I did not write this Book, I didn’t make this up, I am not saying this! Lord, You have said it, and You must honour Your word! You must answer!’. That is how we get our prayers answered – when we pray in accordance to the promises of God, taking God at His word. We must believe, that when we pray to Him, that He will hear us. As the Lord Jesus Christ said, if we ask bread, will He give us a stone? And when we ask God, if we ask in faith, if we ask based upon His promises, God will give us our hearts desire – because when we ask according to His promises we are giving Him, in prayer, His desires – for God works His desires through you and through I.

What kind of promises are there? Well, there are specific promises. In other words, you don’t flick through the Bible and say to yourself, ‘Well, is it God’s will that I should be saved?’. Sure you know that it’s revealed in His word that it’s His will that you should be saved – therefore what do you do? You don’t pray about it, you lift the word of God and say, ‘Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved’, and you believe it, and that’s it! Specific promises. Then there are general promises. For instance – we haven’t time to look at it this morning – but in Isaiah 65 verse 24 you have a promise there, that as soon as your mouth opens in the spirit of God, to pray to God, God hears your prayer in Heaven. That’s a general promise to everyone. Then there is the desire within your heart, the providences of God, when God lays a burden upon your heart, so heavy that you are driven to your knees to pray, and implore, and cry to God for those desires. Then you can take God at His word and claim the answer.

Of course, we can pray for the Lord’s return. We’ve talked about His promises and His providences, but we can pray for His return – why? Because it’s prophesied that He will return. Remember, He reprimanded the hypocrites, the Jews, the Pharisees and the Sadducees because they were able to discern the signs of the weather, but they couldn’t discern the signs of the times. We can, because we have the promises, we have the word of God.

Do you know what God says in Malachi chapter 3 and verse 10? ‘Prove Me now!’ – God wants you to prove Him!
C.H. Spurgeon has a book, and I would encourage you to get it: ‘The Chequebook of the Bank of Faith’ it’s called – 366 promises of God for each day of your life to claim. Do you know what the promises of God are? Do you know what the word of God is? It’s a chequebook from start to finish, for you to take to God, the Great Banker, and give to Him and say, ‘This is what my cheque says that I ought to have as a believer, a child of God. You are implored to give it to me!’. You may think that that is forward. You may think that that is being pushy with God. You may even think that it’s being cheeky with God – but do you know what God says in Malachi chapter 3 and verse 10? ‘Prove Me now!’ – God wants you to prove Him!

In the Isle of Lewis – you’ve heard me speak about it before, because it’s burned upon my heart – a revival took place. And there was a prayer meeting on one occasion, and it’s where it all seemed to start. And this young man got to his feet in this prayer meeting, and they had been meditating upon a verse of scripture, ‘I will pour water upon him that is thirsty’ – and listen to this! He rose to his feet and he said ‘Lord, Your word says I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, are You not a Man of Your word?’. Would you say that to God? It says the building shook, and God moved through that little island like a fire, because one simple man brought, he cashed in, the promises of God for him.

Leonard Ravenhill, in his little book ‘Why no revival?’ he says this – and I’ve written it on the front of my Bible because I think it’s astonishing. He said, ‘We will sit one day in our fellowships and we will watch as some simple, newly converted soul will walk to the front and open the Book of God and simply believe it!’

This is not a book that is to be explained. It is not a book that is to be [torn] apart, and broken down, and talked about until we’re sick – but it’s a book that is to be believed! A book that is to be claimed! A book that is to be lived!

I’ve run out of time this morning, but I’d so much more to say to you all today – but just for a moment, Hebrews chapter 11 we read this, of men and women who claimed God’s promises, who took them and stood upon them. It says of them: ‘Who through faith they subdued kingdoms, they wrought righteousness, they obtained promises, they stopped the mouths of lions, they quenched the violence of fire, they escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness they were made strong, they waxed valiant in fight, they turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, they were tempted, they were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise’! But brethren this morning, we have received the promise – and what more can we do with it, if we claim it at the throne of grace?

In one occasion there were two bishops, Bishop Lambeth and Wainwright. And they were one of the first missionaries to China, and they had a great missionary meeting in Osaka, Japan. And on one occasion, as they were taking their meeting, there were two officials from the communist government that came in and told them that they could no longer have that meeting. And what it did was it drove those two men to their knees in prayer that evening, two of them in a little room. And the little servant girl came to call them to supper, and the power of God and the power of prayer was so great that she fell beneath it! And then his wife came up, to find out what was going on, why the little servant girl hadn’t come back, and she fell underneath the power of prayer and they altogether, when they came to their senses, went to a prayer meeting in that little upper room – and through it, two of those official’s sons were born again! The next day one of those officials that had came to them on a previous occasion, came and said: ‘You can continue with your meetings, no one will hinder you’. Do you know what it said in the newspaper the next day? ‘Last night the Christian’s God visited town’.

You know that most banks close at half past three or four, but have we ever thought of the fact that the throne of grace, one day, will close? We will not pray in glory, the way we pray down here. We can not see God do the impossible in a sin sick world, see Him save multitudes, see Him change lives up in glory – it can’t happen. It is a special blessing for the Christian, that can only happen down here. Therefore all the more reason why we should say: ‘Lord teach us to pray, but teach us to pray to be answered’.

Our dear Father we do just that, we praise Thee for the great things that Thou hast done in the past. But Lord we acknowledge Thy word and Thy promise that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. And what has been done in the past, greater can be done still, if we would only believe our great and glorious God. Lord we pray now that Thou wilt take us to our homes in safety and part us with Your blessing. For Christ’s sake. Amen.


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Categories
BIBLE STUDY

Four Outlined Ways to Help us know God Spiritually


What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

Principle 1:
God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life.
God’s Love
“God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” 1

God’s Plan
[Christ speaking] “I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly” [that it might be full and meaningful]. 2

Why is it that most people are not experiencing the abundant life? Because…


Principle 2:
All of us sin and our sin has separated us from God.
We Are Sinful
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” 3

We were created to have fellowship with God; but, because of our stubborn self-will, we chose to go our own independent way, and fellowship with God was broken. This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is evidence of what the Bible calls sin.

We Are Separated
“The wages of sin is death” [spiritual separation from God].

This diagram illustrates that God is holy and people are sinful. A great gulf separates us. The arrows illustrate that we are continually trying to reach God and the abundant life through our own efforts, such as a good life, philosophy, or religion — but we inevitably fail.

The third law explains the only way to bridge this gulf…


Principle 3:
Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for our sin. Through Him we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our life.
He Died in Our Place
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 5

He Rose From the Dead
“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred…” 6

He Is the Only Way to God
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’”

This diagram illustrates that God has bridged the gulf which separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.

It is not enough just to know these three principles…


Principle 4:
We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives.
We Must Receive Christ
“As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” 8

We Receive Christ Through Faith
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” 9

When We Receive Christ, We Experience a New Birth

We Receive Christ by Personal Invitation
[Christ speaking] “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.” 10

Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be. Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough. Nor is it enough to have an emotional experience. You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.

Which circle best describes your life?

Which circle would you like to have represent your life?

The following explains how you can receive Christ:
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer
Prayer is talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. The following is a suggested prayer:

“Lord Jesus, I need You. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Take control of the throne of my life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.”

If this prayer expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and Christ will come into your life, as He promised.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?
If yes, pray now and according to his promise, Jesus Christ will come into your life.

If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.

If you are human, leave this field blank.
YES! I prayed this prayer

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Categories
Education

THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF HOME EDUCATING CHILDREN

Having homeschooled her two children from pre-school to the age of 18, Wendy Chukwu knows all too well the challenges that millions of families are experiencing in homeschooling their children for the first time.

But it’s also a joy, she says, and looking back, she would choose to home educate her children all over again.

She speaks to Lifetime about the difficulties and rewards of homeschooling children, and what advice she would give to families plunged into it for the first time because of coronavirus.

Wendy: Yes, I homeschooled our two daughters and they’re both now in their twenties. We home educated all the way from pre-school, right up to the age of 18 using a christian curriculum called the ACE Curriculum (Accelerated Christian Education). After they finished and went off to university, I now have supported families that are thinking about home educating children or who have just started.

Wendy: It’s actually escalated in the last year because people are just unhappy with some of the things happening in the schools. Since the lockdown started, the whole nation is home educating and I’ve talked to a lot of people who were thinking about starting with ACE in maybe September or next year, who have now made the decision sooner because of the lockdown. They are thinking, well, we might as well start now because it’s something we were going to do anyway.

Then, there are other people who thought home educating was the last thing in the world they wanted do, who are finding that, actually, they’re quite enjoying it, especially having more time with their families. For some, they weren’t sure before how they would manage financially if they were to homeschool, but they’re now seeing how they could make it work and the benefits of it.

LT:What advice would you give to someone who is struggling a bit with the homeschooling of their kids during lockdown?

Wendy: Very often, when you’re with your children 24/7, you see all their weak areas, and it can be really disappointing or distressing to see their child struggling with spelling or an area of maths.

Actually, when you spot their gifts and encourage these, it helps them in their weak areas. If the child is very good at carpentry or has an aptitude for gardening or art, for example, then receiving support in that will give them confidence in the areas they are struggling in.

Home educating allows you to put more time into the areas they’re struggling in, to really sit down with them and break down what’s difficult. I often tell parents who are new to this that it’s not step by step but toe by toe, to put the effort into those areas, be it times tables or handwriting, or even developing their concentration.

There are some very simple things you can do to see progress. For example, if you do some physical exercise first thing in the morning, this can really help with your children’s concentration and that in turn transforms how they approach the spelling test because they’ve just used lots of energy up on the trampoline.

When you start to see your children making progress, it’s an amazing feeling, and your child will benefit, too, because their confidence will build.

In a busy school classroom, some of the material can just go over their heads. If they don’t understand it, before you know it, they can be moving onto something else when they haven’t mastered the simpler concepts. At home, you don’t need to do that; you don’t need to move on to division when your child hasn’t mastered their times table. You can build up the foundation and the building blocks of the subject and then they will cope with the harder concepts. When you start to plug in those gaps and see them starting to understand a difficult concept for the first time, it can be really rewarding.

LT: Some parents might feel insecure about their own knowledge – or lack of knowledge in certain subjects! And they may be wondering: how can I teach my kids when I don’t know this myself? Do you have to know everything to be able to homeschool your kids?

Wendy: A lot of people feel called to home educate but they also feel completely daunted. Maybe they didn’t have a good education themselves, or English was their strong subject but they don’t know anything about geography or maths.

Everybody feels out of their depth to teach all the subjects at all the levels but think about it being home education and not homeschooling. Education is learning through life, and if you see yourself as an enabler or supervisor rather than a teacher of everything, and you give your child the time and tools to know how to learn, that’s far better than you knowing everything first before having to teach it all.

For instance, if they don’t know their times tables, you can give them the time and discover together. You can help them learn how to learn and put the tools in place so that they can sit down diligently to work something out for themselves. That is a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. If their car breaks down, for example, they can find a manual and learn how to mend it themselves because they’ve learnt the tools of how to learn.

Especially with the internet now, there are so many opportunities to learn how to learn! That’s the biggest gift you can give your children, rather than you being this expert teacher.

With my own daughter for example, while I am a reasonable cook and like making cakes, I never follow complicated recipes but my daughter loves these amazing, complicated recipes that have a lot of different steps to create something really fancy. She’s in her 20s now and during the lockdown, she’s had her sourdough on the go. She’s always discovering new things. When she was growing up, though, I always gave her the time, the ingredients and the kitchen to experiment.

When you give your children the tools, they will become experts in the areas you don’t know anything about.

LT: Is there an area of struggle common to homeschooling parents?

Wendy Chukwu homeschooled her two children from pre-school to the age of 18.
Wendy: Character training is always a massive thing because if your child is kicking and screaming and doesn’t want to do their work, or there’s sibling rivalry to deal with, then it’s going to be really hard. So character is something you always have to work on.

Once you’ve mastered that and your child is obedient, diligent, and honest etc, they will be able to sit down and concentrate on their maths and complete their page. When it comes to getting a job, they’re going to be a good, honest worker. Good character will carry them a long way whatever their ability.

Everybody thinks of homeschooling and thinks about the academics: for instance, I’m not sure how I’m going to teach the maths or the English, or which literature books should we be reading?

They soon find that the academics are quite a small proportion of the day, and that it’s the 24/7 character training that’s the biggest challenge. It’s far more difficult to teach character than algebra!

A lot of people found the first week of the lockdown challenging, but quite a few parents said to me that by the second week they had got into a rhythm and could now see changes in their children’s character for the better. They were getting a bit of discipline going and some order in the home; they were helping out with the chores or parents were enjoying finding out what their children were interested in, or their gifts, and having more time to play games together.

It’s the character training that takes the most time and it’s the most challenging part. Home educators have far more time to concentrate on that and when you put the time in with to work on their character, you see massive benefits to your overall family life.

A common question I get from other parents is: “What about socialisation?” Now, in this lockdown time, no one is socialising! In general, though, socialisation is really not a problem for home educators. Chatting with neighbours, seeing friends, attending clubs, active church life, and spending time with cousins is far more natural socialisation – socialising with the people you walk by in your everyday life – than with 30 peers in a small room all doing the same activity.

It’s far more natural to be chatting to granny on the phone, playing with your brother in the garden, having a story with your mum or chatting around the dinner table. One-to-one socialisation, where your voice can be heard and you can get answers to your questions, can happen naturally. In a classroom, nobody’s listening to you; you can have lots of questions and not necessarily any answers.

LT: Are you able to tailor the curriculum for homeschooling?

Wendy: Absolutely. The ACE curriculum, which I’m involved with, gets students to work at the level of their ability, not according to the child’s age or their school year. The children undergo a diagnostic test to ascertain the level they should be working at. Their Maths, English and Science tests could all score at different levels.

It’s no different from how we treat adults. We’re all very different with our gifts and abilities and talents. We wouldn’t all be on the same level so why would we expect all 10-year-olds to be at the same level in the school? You wouldn’t ask a child to read a book if they didn’t know any of the words; you would take them back to the level where they can read and then build up from there.

We ask: what do you know already and what do you not know? We then work out a prescription based on their result. Using the ACE Curriculum is effectively one-to-one education. Even if you’ve got a few children in the family, each child would be working separately and at their own level and pace.

LT: When it comes to applying for university, do they get a fair hearing?

Wendy: It depends on the institution but generally, as a rule, universities are very open to home educators. The curriculum we use ends with a certificate equivalent to Cambridge ‘O’ Levels, so the General Level is similar to 9 GCSES, and the Intermediate and Advanced are like AS and A levels. Many of our students have gone on to all sorts of universities, including Cambridge, with the Advanced certificate and have had great success. Once a university has had one of our students, they open their arms to them because of their ability to study and their character.

LT: There’s been a lot in the news about the impact of coronavirus on state school children with all the school closures. Has there been any impact on kids who were already homeschooling or is it just business as usual?

Wendy: The mornings are very much the same because they’re at home doing the schoolwork. There are probably a lot more dads around so it might be a bit more busy than normal!

It’s certainly different in the afternoons because normally, homeschooling children will meet up with others at their home education groups, swimming lessons, art classes, and church youth groups etc. Certainly the social side of things has massively changed.

It’s quite amusing to think that the whole nation understands what home education is now! The amount of resources out there now is just incredible. Suddenly everything’s gone digital, and it just shows that you can do school at home.

LT: Do you think more families will start home educating full-time after this lockdown?

Wendy: That’s right. I’ve spoken to quite a few families who have said they’re going to restructure their family life. They’ve been racing around living such busy lives, and have now realised that, actually, they can manage on one wage and so they’re going to start home educating. I think this time will make some people think differently.

LT: The sudden proliferation of all these online resources must also benefit people who were already homeschooling because they’ve now got so many more learning tools at their fingertips?

Wendy: It is amazing to see so many useful resources, fitness workout sessions, films and podcasts now available to use at home. Such a blessing.

LT: What advice would you give to families who haven’t ever spent this much time altogether under one roof before, just in terms of managing space and relationships?

Wendy: Definitely exercise is a good thing, whether it’s in the garden on the trampoline or some star jumps. It’s good to do some physical activity before you even start the lessons.

Set up a really good timetable with a clear schedule: such as time for school work and regular breaks.

Get your children involved in the chores around the house. A chore chart is a great help. Don’t be a slave doing all the jobs while they just wait for you to finish! Get a good rota going so that they’re helping to take the rubbish out, helping with the cleaning, emptying the dishwasher, and helping to prepare the meals.

When you have a rota, it helps you to work as part of a team and everything can be part of their education and their character training. While they’re doing all of these things, they’re learning to be independent.

Around two hours academically a day is enough for most young children. Obviously when they get older, it increases, but generally if you do two or three hours of really concentrated academic work, it’s enough.

Then in the afternoon, home educating families will normally do all the practical or creative things, like cooking, gardening, sport, artwork and music.

Rewards and goals help a lot with motivation. Once school work is completed then you can concentrate on the more creative activities. After a few days of goal setting, students soon realise that actually it’s much better to knuckle down and get the academic work done because then they have time for their hobbies and other activities.

LT: What would you say to parents who have decided they want to go full-time with home educating? What would the next step be in practical terms to get homeschooling up and running in their family?

Wendy: Firstly, be in agreement as a married couple. If one has the vision but the other doesn’t, it very difficult. It is a step of faith but being united, prayerful and getting that vision from God through His word, that He’s calling you to train and teach your children in His ways, is so important. If you have that common vision, there’s less chance of it falling apart.

sport
Homeschooled children learn academic subjects in the morning. In the afternoon, they do creative or practical activities, like sport.

it’s then deciding which curriculum to use. There are all sorts of things on the internet but the one I’m involved with is a structured curriculum which covers from pre-school and ends up to the A-levels stage. You can sign up to be a member, and there is training for you and a diagnostic test for the children so that they can receive an individualised curriculum to work through. You will be sent a prescription so you know what level to start each subject.

LT: What was it that made you want to homeschool?

Wendy: I resisted it in the beginning. We had friends who home educated but whilst I could see the benefits I thought there was no way I was going to follow them! I had loved school myself and wanted our children to go to school. I battled more and more, but got to the point where I felt I couldn’t send them to the state school because there were so many things I didn’t feel happy with.

I also resisted because I did not feel that I could home educate. It just felt like too big a responsibility. I remember one night I couldn’t sleep and came down into the lounge and lay on the carpet and said: “Lord, I give this decision to you because I can’t decide either way.” After I prayed that prayer, I felt Him saying: “Just look into my word; stop asking other people.”

I kept wanting people to give me the answer but I felt Him so clearly saying look into my word. I did a study on parents, teachers and training children and I realised that nowhere does it say in the Bible to send your children to a humanistic environment where atheists are going to teach your children! It’s all about you as parents teaching and training your children, and whilst I understand that not everybody is able to home educate, if you get that vision from God, I do believe He equips us for the calling that He gives us and it’s our responsibility as parents to teach and train our children in His ways. He supplies our needs for the calling he outs before us.

We took the plunge when our children were two and four, and didn’t look back, even though it wasn’t easy.

Despite the challenges, it’s really rewarding. You form close family relationships and great memories. It helps the children bond together. Grandparents are able to see their children more and of course they can develop their relationship with God. I always think that’s the most important thing; to show our children about the love of the Lord and the Word and to teach them in His ways. Character comes next, and academics are further down the list.

LT: For a lot of parents thinking about it, the financial aspect can be daunting.

Wendy: Oh completely, especially if both parents are working, but I just know so many testimonies of people saying: we feel God calling us to do it and then He’s provided.

In any case, it’s not free sending your child to a state school because there are so many things you have to buy and pay for, and home education can be done on a shoestring.

Obviously, the larger the budget you have, the more clubs and activities you can get your children involved in but I know that for some families, amazing opportunities have arisen. Local councils, for example, are doing all kinds of things, such as free museum trips and visits to fire stations etc. If families have got a small budget, there are still lots of things you can do.

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Categories
NEWS

RENO OMOKRI FINALLY VINDICATED ABOUT BUHARI’S SPEECH NOT LIVE BUT RECODED

The popular US based Author and public influencer Reno Omokri took to his verified tweeter account on 28th April, 2020 to counter the live broadcast by President Buhari. He wrote;

General @MBuhari’s speech was not live. It was recorded. What is the president afraid of? Why cant he have a live briefing and take questions from journalists? He just reads what is handed to him. #CoronaVirus response requires a dialogue, not a monologue. And then he went ahead and called it empty broadcast.

So, today he confirmed his allegation from the interview Buhari’s media adviser, Femi Adeshina had with Tvc News:

Reno tweeted below

In an interview with @TVCnewsng, General @MBuhari’s anodyne spokesman, @FemAdesina said “I signed on the final copy before the broadcast was recorded.”

This vindicates my tweet that Buhari’s broadcast was recorded, not live!