There have been many stories printed regarding the kidnapping of over 200 Nigerian girls last month, but there is one interview that caught my attention.
On April 30th, Alexis Okeowo posted an interview by one of the girls that escaped the kidnapping in The New Yorker.
According to the 18-year-old, militants showed up at the boarding school at night dressed in Nigerian military uniforms on April 14, 2014. They told the girls that they were there to take them to safety.
These militants came at night. Why didn’t they come during the day? Because every work of the devil is the work of darkness. He hates light because light exposes him. Also, he is always looking for an opportune moment. The bible says that after the devil ended all the temptation in the wilderness, he departed from Jesus, but it was only for a season. The devil waits until you are vulnerable, tired, alone or lonely. Even in the garden, the serpent didn’t come to Eve when she was with Adam. He waited until she was alone.
The militants didn’t come dressed as themselves. They knew that in order for their plan to work, they had to disguise themselves. Otherwise, the young girls wouldn’t have left with them. 1 Corinthians 11:14 tells us that satan disguises or transforms himself as an angel of light. According to the interviewee, these girls were not forced. They willingly left with these men because they believed what they said. Satan never forces anyone to do anything, but he will dress things up to attract you and lure you away from what God said. Be careful.
The girls were told that they were going to be taken to safety. To catch the right fish, you have to use the right bait. Satan’s bait is a lie. Many have been led captive by the enemy today because of a lie. Eve told God ‘the serpent beguiled me and I did eat’. In Eve’s case, she knew the truth. God spoke to her first. Before the serpent presented a lie (‘You shall not surely die’), God presented the truth (‘You shall not eat from it or touch it or you will die’). Eve couldn’t use the excuse, ‘The devil made me do it’. She was drawn away by her own lust. Eve ate it because she desired it.
There are three things I learned from this kidnapping:
- Be careful who you join yourself to. Every person who comes to you is not sent by God.
- Listen to what people say, but watch what they do. Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God (1 John 4:1).
- If you’re not sure about something, you have been given permission to ask. Go in prayer. Acknowledge God. The Spirit of God is also called the Spirit of Truth and He will never lead you wrong.
As for the young girls, my prayer is that the kidnappers will set every one of them free and that they return to their families unharmed, in Jesus’ name.
This was only a test.
God told Abraham to take the one he loved and offer him as a burnt offering. The priests were allowed to keep portions for themselves for most of the offerings and sometimes the one offering the sacrifice could keep a portion of the meat, but with the burnt offering, neither the priest nor the one making the sacrifice could partake of the meat because God wanted it all.
It may not make sense why God would ask Abraham to sacrifice something that was promised to him and something he had waited for, but you don’t have to understand what God is doing in order to obey Him. Abraham knew God enough to know that if his son died that God would raise him from the dead (Heb 11:19). He obeyed God because He trusted God and because he trusted God, God could now trust him.
This test showed where Abraham’s heart was. God knew that if Abraham didn’t obey him in this, he wouldn’t obey him in anything else He asked and God knew based upon what Abraham did (not what he said) that Abraham loved and feared Him.
Although I honor God with my tithes and offerings, there were other areas in my life where I robbed Him. I would give that which only belonged to God to someone else and because of fear, I buried my talent, but after reading about Abraham’s obedience, I repented to God for giving Him parts of me and not all of me.
When God gave His Son, He gave all and He gave His only. He did not give us parts and because God has given us all of Him, He expects us to give Him all of us. Give up what you love the most and show God how much you love Him. God doesn’t want your sacrifice. He doesn’t want your excuses. He wants your obedience because that is better.
Father, give us a heart after Your heart.
This widow had already lost her husband. Now she lost her son and this was her only son.
The scriptures tell us that “much” people were with her as her son’s body was being carried out. Just because she was crying, doesn’t mean they were crying with her. Some of those people were probably just spectators.
Like this widow, you may have had something to die and be carried away. Maybe your car was carried away (repossession). Your home was carried away (foreclosure/eviction). Your marriage was carried away (divorce). Your job was carried away (laid off/fired).
Not everybody wants to see you do better than them. Some people like to see you when you’re down. Romans 12:15 tells us to “rejoice with them that do rejoice and weep with them that weep”. There were people that were rejoicing while you were weeping, but those who saw you weep are going to see you laugh again.
Blessed are you that weep now for you shall laugh (Luke 6:21).
God is going to allow the same people who saw things carried away from you to see God deliver it back to you. Those who experienced public shame are about to experience public glory.
Before Jesus did anything, he told the woman, “Weep not”. Don’t cry about it anymore. Not only did He tell her to stop crying, but He gave her a reason not to cry anymore.
If you believe what God has said, stop crying about what you’re going through and start praising Him for what you’re going through. The only tears you will be crying are tears of joy.
Jesus spoke to her dead son and said, “Arise”. The word or promise God gave you will be accomplished in your life. It will not return void. In fact, the word has already gone before you and nothing can stop or hinder it. Don’t worry about what it looks like. I know it looks dead, but even the dead can hear Him.
The dead sat up and began to speak. It seems like what God said is taking too long to manifest, but it will surely come to pass. At the end, it shall speak and not lie.
God is about to deliver. This is the year of the hand of the Lord and everyone will know that God visited you. They will see the hand of God at work in your life.
They saw what was taken away, but they are about to see God ‘bring it back’.
[Scripture reference: Luke 7:11-16]
We are all like farmers.
We are sowing something and it is important that even when the weather isn’t favorable or it doesn’t look like what you sowed is going to manifest that you keep sowing.
Why must you continue to sow even when you don’t see anything come up? Because you don’t know which seed will prosper.
The word of God (seed) is always right, but make sure your heart (soil) is right.
Harvest time is coming.
Continue to pray and speak the word because when you stop speaking, you stop creating.
Sow in season and sow out of season.
You have been looking at your neighbor’s field too long. Stop comparing your field with someone else’s and tend the field God has given you and it will produce for you this year.
God told me not to do it, but instead of obeying the Spirit of God, I obeyed my flesh and did what I wanted to do. God could have changed His mind and tell me that I didn’t deserve what He wanted to give me, but He didn’t. His only words to me were ‘Not now’.
Not now is better than never.
All I could do was admit I was wrong, confess my sin, and repent. There was no excuse. I had been forewarned. Yes, the devil beat me over the head many times about it and it took me awhile to forgive myself, but the good news is even after I failed the test, God gave me grace to take the test again. That was six years ago and I made up in my mind that I didn’t want to add another six years in the wilderness.
It’s not that God doesn’t want to give us the things we are praying for, but He wants to be able to trust us with those things. Have you ever asked God for something and He said, ‘You’re not ready?’ It hurt when God told me that, but what would have hurt more is if He didn’t tell me and instead gave me something that I wasn’t ready for. God is not going to give you something that pulls you away from Him, but rather push you closer to Him.
It is possible for a thing to be good, but not good for you.
I know the wilderness is described as a dry place, but when you obey God, you can eat and drink there. You can enjoy where you are to where you are going. Just as we are given a set time to go to the next grade or graduate from school, God has given us a set time in the wilderness. It is not supposed to be your permanent condition. In fact, it is not a bad place, but the reason why we don’t like the wilderness is because it is uncomfortable and it is not familiar. This place reveals the areas where we do not trust God. This place shows us that we don’t know God like we think we do. Sometimes it feels like you’re going to die, but God didn’t bring you to the wilderness to die. He brought you here to kill those things that easily beset you and keep you from becoming what God called you to be. The wilderness is designed to train, teach and prepare you for where God is taking you.
Don’t focus on how long you’ve been in the wilderness, but focus on what the Spirit of God is teaching you in the wilderness. Don’t be discouraged for the wilderness is not your permanent residence. It is only temporary. You are only passing through. This wilderness experience is helping you to get to where God called you, but the longer you resist what God is doing, the longer you will remain there.
When there is no storm, all houses look the same, but when a storm comes, you see how different they really are.
In Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus tells the parable of two builders.
Notice that the storm didn’t come while the builders were building. God had allowed them enough time to build it right. Too many times as Christians, we are concerned about how we look outwardly rather than how we look inwardly. We are more concerned about gifts rather than character, but it’s not your gift that needs to be built. It’s your character that needs building.
Just as Noah was given instructions on how to build the ark and Moses was given instructions on how to build the tabernacle, I’m sure these two builders were given instructions on how to build their houses. The instruction comes from God’s mouth to your ears, but eventually it must reach your hands. We have a responsibility to do something with the word that God gave us. That was the downfall of the foolish builder. He heard the same word that the wise builder heard, but he didn’t do what the Word said. Neither builder knew that a storm was coming, but not knowing when a storm is coming is not an excuse not to prepare for one.
Everyone was able to see the clean windows, the green grass, and the beautiful flowers, but the important part of the house was hidden – the foundation. Jesus tells us that the foundation for every believer is ‘My words’ (vs 24) and these words should be hidden in our hearts.
What God requires of us takes time. You can’t rush this process. It takes time to build and it takes time to grow and mature in the word.
So don’t compare your life to others and get discouraged by how things look right now. What you are doing for God is not a waste of time for in a little while, what you have been doing and/or saying in secret will be revealed in public.
If you don’t believe the words God gave you, you won’t obey Him and if you don’t obey Him, it’s because you don’t trust Him.
Have you ever examined your life and noticed a pattern? You hear the voice of God yet you don’t see the manifestation of what He said because of the poor choices you make. For example, God promises you a promotion or a raise on your job, but one day you get angry with your supervisor and prematurely quit your job or God promises you a spouse, but you allow your flesh to pick your mate and now you are in a relationship that you are trying to get out of because you refused to wait on God.
Some of us look like the man in the picture above. You have been going around the same circle for years.
You feel like you’re always messing up and that you will never receive what God has said, but I have some good news for you. The Lord shared with me the other night that He doesn’t speak careless words. Have you ever said something that you wish you could take back after you said it? Well, not God. He gave careful thought to every plan, purpose and promise. Despite our foolish ways and disobedience, His promises are still ‘Yes and Amen’. The devil wants you to feel condemned about the mistakes you made and he will even try to convince you that God is tired of you and your mess-ups, but that’s far from the truth.
God has not changed His mind concerning you. In fact, He does not repent the day He made you a promise, but it’s your disobedience and unbelief that is prolonging the process, which leads to the promise. Yes, God loves you and He doesn’t want you to miss Him or the things He has promised, but there is still something YOU must do. If you want change, you have to make some necessary changes in your life.
Elijah had a need and God wanted to supply His need so He gave Elijah instructions to hide himself by the brook Cherith. It was there that God commanded the ravens to feed him. Elijah’s provision wasn’t where he was. It was where God told him to go, but Elijah had to move.
The reason why you haven’t seen the provision of God yet is because you refuse to go ‘there’ (disobedience). Hearing the word of God is not enough. You must do the word. Another reason why you haven’t seen the provision of God is because of unbelief. What you don’t see has been preventing you from seeing what God said. You will miss God every time you try to figure it out and not walk it out. I understand that you don’t see how God is going to do what He said and it seems impossible, but if you don’t obey God, you will always be ‘here’.
This year, do what God tells you to do. It’s time to stop going around the same circle…God wants to show you a better view.