CLOSE TO THE PULPIT BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

Image result for FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVENThe Journey to eternity start from the day we accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and failure to make heaven will be a total disaster
One can work for God
Preach on the alter
Lead praise and worship, go for evangelism
Give tithe, arms,offering, care for widows, orphans
AND STILL NOT MAKE IT TO HEAVEN……REVELATION 21:27. Hebrew 12:14

FACT………
you are a deacon in the church, but you are still working in a tobacco company…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the head usher but you indulge in masturbation, adultery……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the leader of a group in your church but you are married with a second wife while the first wife is still alive……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You get to work on time but you are always coming late to church…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a worker in your church but you rented your shop for someone who want to operate a bar  to sell alcohol…….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a chorister yet you have worldly song on your phone……..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are very diligent in your group in the church, yet you don’t respect your husband……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You can quote many bible scripture, but you are having sex with your wife from the back like dog…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You can pray like prophet Elijah yet , you do not forgive others…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the best keyboardist in your church yet you do not respect your parents…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You help to assist the needy , yet you indulge in sex before marriage.….YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You see visions like Elijah,but envy and jealousy is in your heart ……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You give your tithe promptly and correctly but you like artificial hair , artificial, nails……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are the Priest but the love for money is ruling your life……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You preached powerfully as a pastor Yet your heart is filled with lust for opposite sex…..YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

You are a deaconess, but in your office a terror and corrupt……YOU ARE CLOSE TO THE PULPIT…..BUT FAR FROM THE GATE OF HEAVEN

Beloveth…let the church be a channel to make heaven, and not your destination , if man does not see you……ANGELS OF GOD ARE RECORDING ALL YOUR DEEDS…REMEMBER NO UNCLEAN PERSON WILL ENTER HEAVEN.

credit: Michael Bamgboluwaga

THE SIGNS OF A DYING CHURCH

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Church is boring for most because the power of God has vanished from many congregations … there is a lack of desire to pursue Him in the pulpit as well as in the pew. Like Samson, they “know not that the Spirit of the Lord has departed” (cf. Judge 16:20).

High attendance is not the gauge of success, faithfulness is. Granted, a healthy church should experience seasons of growth, but even cults generate large numbers of followers.

Here are 5 simple ways to gauge the health of a church as well as a believer:

1. Is prayer an after-thought or a priority? Nights of prayer and worship are often replaced with Bingo and fundraisers.Many are in a hurry to burn through a sermon, scurry through worship, and head to the nearest restaurant. This is a sure sign of a dying church. If churches are too busy to pray—we’re too busy. “When faith ceases to pray, it ceases to live” (E.M. Bounds). We should never allow our relationship with God to suffer because we’re too busy. “We must spend much time on our knees before God if we are to continue in the power of the Holy Spirit” (R.A. Torrey). Spiritual life and prayer go hand-in-hand. You can’t have one without the other.

2. Is the church known for either emotionalism or dead formalism? Unfortunately, Christians often embrace one of two extremes when it comes to the topic of the Holy Spirit. At one extreme are those who embrace pure emotionalism and hysteria—”if it’s odd it’s God” is often their motto. All weird behavior is excused. The other extreme resembles a cemetery. There’s no living, vibrant spiritual life taking place. The church is dead, cold, and lifeless; talk of revival is either dismissed or ridiculed. Both extremes are wrong and offer a false impression of genuine Christianity … both are characteristics of a dying church.

3. Is sin excused and holiness minimized? In short, has the fear of the Lord vanished? Some time ago, a pastor of a large church in my area made an unforgettable statement, “We should avoid mentioning the fear of the Lord. It makes people feel uncomfortable.” Just writing that sentence makes me feel uncomfortable. The fear of the Lord is mentioned frequently throughout the Bible as the beginning of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. “The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him…” (Psalm 147:11).

Fear can also motivate a person to repent. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). Jesus spoke more on the fear of hell than on the glory of heaven. “That makes me both love Him and fear Him! I love Him because He is my Savior, and I fear Him because He is my Judge” (A.W. Tozer).

The present condition of the church (and America) leads one to wonder if this lack of fearing the Lord is contributing to her spiritually dead condition: “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth…” (Revelation 3:15-17).

4. Is love a concept or a reality? True love is a “choice” and a commitment that we make to do good to others; it is not a “feeling.”If love is the greatest commandment, it should be our first priority. Love hopes for and believes the best in others. It is demonstrated through our actions and our words. The Bible is clear: If you have not love, it profits you nothing (cf. 1 Corinthians 13:3). You can be well read in all sixty-six books of the Bible, preach as well as Whitefield, Moody, and Spurgeon, and have a Ph.D. in theology, but if you don’t have love, you have nothing.

5. Are difficult truths neglected, watered-down, or avoided in the hope of “not offending”? Ironically, churches that are “all about love” forget the other side of the coin: judgment is never mentioned; repentance is never sought; and sin is often excused. They want to build a church rather than break a heart; be politically correct rather than biblically correct; coddle and comfort rather than stir and convict. This leaves people confused and deceived because they believe in a cross-less Christianity that bears no resemblance to Jesus’ sobering call to repentance. Christianity only makes sense in light of the consequences of sin. The good news about Christ can only be appreciated with the bad news as the backdrop. There are times when the saints must be fed, and there are times when the sinners must be warned (C.H. Spurgeon).

Pastors (including me) must find the balance—preach the difficult truths as well as the joyful ones; preach the cross and the new life; preach hell and preach heaven; preach damnation and preach salvation; preach sin and preach grace; preach wrath and preach love; preach judgment and preach mercy; preach obedience and preach forgiveness; preach that God “is love,” but don’t forget that God is just. Ironically, it’s the love of God that compels us to share all of His truth, including those things that are hard to hear.

Although disheartening, this trend away from God’s Word (absolute truth) is not surprising. The apostle Paul warned centuries ago: “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine [God’s Word], but according to their own desires … they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

credit: Shane Idleman

PRAYER FOR UNSPOKEN REQUEST

When you have unspoken prayer requests, or others ask you to pray for their unspoken needs, how can you pray? What can you say that expresses the wordless cry for comfort, assurance, or hope? While God hears every groan we utter, here is a prayer you can use if you need help interceding for those with unspoken requests.

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Lord Jesus, I pray today for those with unspoken prayer requests, those whose hurts are too deep to be spoken, those whose hearts are too broken. I pray for those who can’t dress their pain with words, because they believe the shame or regret they wear is too heavy to remove. I pray for those who are trying to cope with endless struggles, battles that lure their hopes into closets of discouragement and depression, and for those whose actions or beliefs have paralyzed their faith or reduced it to a fraction of what they desire.

As the Provider of all our needs, who knows them even before we ask, Lord, hear these groans that pour out like water, that originate within the soul starved for answers. Grant these ones courage and strength to cast the weight of sorrow, longing, or worry onto You, even when they cannot speak the words or verbalize their thoughts. Let them know You hear; You care; and You answer, and that “coming boldly to your throne of grace,” includes those times when our hearts can only cry out “Jesus!” in silent or verbal anguish.

Where timidity lives behind walls of fear, give these bold strugglers confidence that You are in control. Bless them for protecting others’ or their own privacy in times of public prayer by only answering, “Unspoken.” Give them a deep-settled peace that they are not alone, even when others don’t know the specifics or depth of the need or the shame. Let them – and those who pray for them – rest in the wisdom of God and the work of the Holy Spirit to intercede and transform our deepest, unspoken prayers into the perfect will of God in every situation.

Where relationships have turned sour, where fear of exposure reigns, or where wounds cry out for healing, Jesus, You see the intensity of these unspoken needs. You stoop down to hear the smallest whispers, and You receive our loudest moans as if they are songs of worship to Your ears. You understand the sting of rejection, and the ache of loneliness. You know the weakness of human flesh, the wisdom of silence, and the need for trust in the Father’s timing. You know all things, and You work all things out for our good – even the unspoken prayers that squeeze through the pores of our pain-riddled hearts.

To both the ones with unspoken prayer requests, and the ones who long to pray with discernment and compassion for them; protect their vulnerable spirits; release their imprisoned cries for help; and surprise them with Your amazing grace. Lord, free every burdened heart; heal the sin-sick soul; restore every broken part; and make our bodies whole, that we might become unified in the body of Christ. Make us all intercessors and prayer warriors, especially for the cries of “unspoken.”

Jesus, what a privilege and honor to enter into prayer – and to know that connection that holds us all together: Your perfect bond of love. Thank You for hearing us, and for allowing us to pray.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

credit: Olufamous

Find Rest in God

Related imageA friend spoke to me about how she was feeling yesterday. She had prayed, fasted and trusted God and it seemed nothing was happening. God gave me a word for her and I am sharing it with everyone who may feel like her right now.

I have been studying the story of Genesis and the story of Joseph stuck with me. He suffered pain many times; rejection when his brothers sold him into slavery and the arduous journey to Egypt for starters. Then he found peace at the home of the Potiphar’s but only for a while. He obeyed God and chose not to have an affair with Mrs. Potiphar and instead of that to bring him rest, it sent Him to prison.

Hmm… but the bible says that the presence of God was with Joseph and he prospered. He was a slave in Egypt, from being a favored son, and yet he prospered. Just imagine what third parties would have been saying If that was today, ESPECIALLY those that love him. They would organize fasting sessions and try to pray the bad luck away. They would indirectly assume he had some sin or failing in His life that led to the path his life was taking and allude to that when speaking to him. Forget the mockers! Their comments can break one’s spirit. For Joseph, he would have had not a few down moments, tempted to question God. But the truth is that the presence of God was with Joseph.

Somehow, we cannot seem to wrap our hands around God being with someone and the person not experiencing bliss as we know it. Humans are funny, we judge what we cannot see and so we cannot afford to be led or driven by others perception of what is going on in our lives. We need to start defining wealth as the presence of God and not our lives fitting into a script we or others have written

Whilst in prison, Joseph ministers to the cupbearer and butler. Finally, I’m sure he hopes something good will come out of this. His hopes rise, days turn to weeks and months and he realizes the butler has forgotten him. Now, this is one time too many. God cannot be with a man and yet things keep going wrong for him. No way! Yes, that’s how our minds work. But God was with him. Had the butler remembered as he desired, he might have been made a diligent servant or a diviner. He would have been in Pharaoh’s courts but not in a destiny position. So God made the butler remember only when it fit into His (God’s) plans for Joseph. We all know how that ended. But the bible records that the adversity tested Joseph. Psalm 105:19

When God’s promises seemingly don’t come to pass, wait under the mighty hand of God, till you pass the test. You need to wait until you hear God tell you that you have passed the test. In ‘failing’ you, God teaches you to know that He will never fail.” Pastor Chris Delvan.

If you feel a little weary of trusting God, I’d like to share three things

  1. Don’t allow people’s definition of your journey characterize you. That things are going topsy turvy doesn’t mean you are not prospering. True prosperity is the presence of God.
  2. Rest in the promise. Give it all to God and trust that He has a destiny process to bring you to your place of promise.
  3. Don’t be bitter that ‘good’ seems to be evading you. As long as you have God, greatness is in His design for you and He will frustrate good so He can bring great.

Today, this is a word going out to all who feel that they have done all God requires of them but they cannot see anything happening.

For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. Heb 10:36

God has asked me to tell you to REST.

credit:  StependousGrace

Simple Formulas to change your life

Image result for change of life jesus1. Facts > Feelings: This chapter covers how to gather the right facts, how to best think about these facts, and how to enjoy the beneficial impact of this on our emotions and moods. After identifying a number of damaging thinking patterns that are pummeling our emotions, a six-step plan to retrain thoughts, knock out destructive emotions, and build a shield of protective positive feelings such as peace, joy, and confidence.

2. Good News > Bad News: Philippians 4:8 is applied to our media and ministry diets to ensure that we are consuming and digesting more good news than bad news, and thus enjoy more of God’s peace in our hearts.

3. Done > Do: While we need the demanding the imperatives of God’s law to reveal where we’ve gone wrong, we need to hear even more of the indicatives of God’s redeeming acts to reveal His grace and provision.

4. Christ > Christians: One of the biggest obstacles to evangelism is the inconsistency and hypocrisy of many Christians. It’s also the reason why so many leave the church or are unhappy in the church. But by focusing more on Christ than on Christians, we stop adding up the innumerable faults of Christians and start calculating the inestimable value of Christ.

5. Future > Past: This chapter helps Christians get the most our of looking to the past without falling into nostalgia or guilt. However, the primary emphasis of this chapter is to encourage Christians to have a much more future-oriented faith than is usually the case.

6. Everywhere grace > Everywhere sin: Without denying the deep and ugly sinfulness that affects and infects everyone and everything, this formula calls Christians to pay much more attention to God’s beautiful work in the world and in all His creatures, resulting in a more positive worldview, more joy in our hearts, and more praise for our gracious God.

7. Praise > Criticism: Although it often feels good to criticize more than praise, a critical spirit and habit is extremely damaging for both the critic and the criticized. This chapter presents ten persuasive arguments for why praise and encouragement should be predominant.

8. Giving > Getting: Perhaps the most unbelieved beatitude in the Bible is, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). By looking at charitable giving, giving in marriage, giving of thanks, and giving in leadership, this chapter presents biblical and scientific evidence to persuade that the beatitude is indeed true.

9. Work > Play: As work plays such a large part in our lives, it’s hard to be happy Christians unless we are happy at work. This chapter explains the bible’s teaching about vocation and proposes a number of God-centered ways in which we can increase our joy at work.

10. Diversity > Uniformity: While staying in our own cultures and communities is safe and easy, a more biblical engagement of other races, classes, and cultures enriches and enhances our lives. This chapter suggests ten ways in which we can increase diversity in our lives, families, and churches, and lists ten advantages of such choices.

Conclusion:
Amid the reality of sin and suffering, Christians can find joy in repentance and in joyful submission to God’s providence.

credit olufamous

Types of Men Christian Women Should Never Marry

Image result for unbelieving husband imagesAs women, we grow up dreaming about whom we’ll someday marry. We watch countless romantic movies and read fairy tales about Prince Charming. We have Pinterest boards for planning the big wedding day. We make lists of traits we’d love to see in a future husband, longing for Mr. Right. Often our expectations loom big. And in our quest for the happily ever after, we may start to feel like we have to settle.

Often when our interests are sparked and feelings are flowing, we can get swept away and even lose sight of what is true. Yet, love doesn’t have to be blind. There’s no reason to settle for relationships that are unhealthy or even harmful.

God cares about you. He cares about the one you marry. And you can trust He will give guidance or even some red flags to be aware of along the way.

 Characteristics that Should Raise a Red Flag

1. The Unbeliever – Marriage can be hard enough at times, add to that the pressure of deeper spiritual disconnect, and you may be in big trouble when the normal stressors of life occur. Missionary dating and marriage will be a road of extra struggle. If you hold vastly different spiritual beliefs now, don’t falsely assume you’ll get him to “turn around,” or change his ways later. It may happen, but it may not. Be careful not to settle for less than what God would want for the spiritual health and care of your marriage.
– 2 Cor. 6:14

2. The Abuser – You are worth far too much to be abused by anyone. Ever. Move quickly away from anyone who brings you physical, verbal, or deep emotional harm. It’s not worth it to attach yourself to one who desperately needs help and freedom himself. You are not his saving grace. That is God’s work. Marriage is built on deep love and respect and this is most certainly no way to begin. See the warning signs for what they are. Believe you are valuable and precious to God. Say “no more” and move on.
– Ps. 11:5

3. The Addict – This man needs freedom that can only come by admitting there’s a problem and seeking counseling, professional help, and the strength that God can bring. Addiction to alcohol, drugs, or pornography will lead to destruction. And though your relationship may seem to challenge him in the right direction, don’t be fooled that he’ll so quickly “give it all up for you,” without the aid and accountability of professional help. You are not the one to set him free and your role is not to try to change him. Only God can.
– 1 Cor. 6:12

4. The Narcissist – If your boyfriend cares more about what he looks like in the mirror on any given day, than what you do, or can’t seem to get enough of his “greatness,” you may have trouble ahead. No matter how handsome, talented, and charming one may seem, marriage is built on the word “together.” If the relationship before marriage seems a bit one-sided, emphasis on “his side,” it may be destined for struggle. Your life should be greatly cherished by the man who calls you his wife. Humility, compassion, love, and respect towards others are much more admirable characteristics than simply the externals.
– 2 Tim. 3:2-5

5. The Controller – What seems to be disguised early on as “I’m only trying to help,” can really be a deep need for control and a heart of jealousy. This man will dominate and strive to make every decision for you, decide who you should spend time or who you should no longer see. The one driven by control needs will have continual issues with whether he can “trust you.” Often, under the grasp of the controller, you may start to feel like you can hardly breath. It’s suffocating. It’s supposed to be, that’s how he holds you in his grasp. Be free. This is not your problem to fix. It’s God’s.
– James 3:16

6. The Angry, Hot-tempered Man – A man who cannot control his temper before you’re married, will most certainly be a man who cannot control his temper after you’re married. In most cases, it will worsen. No matter what our personality type, it still doesn’t give us room to plow over anyone in our pathway with harsh words and rants. Take time in different scenarios to see how he responds, especially under pressure. How does he act on the ball field? In traffic? When the waiter gets the order messed up? When the pressures mount at work? When you’re running late? The key is – does he realize it’s an area of weakness that he desires for God to help him change? If the answer is “no,” steer clear.
– Prov. 22:24

7. The Man Still Tied to Mama – We all love a man who loves his Mom. There is deep respect for those who care for and show love to their parents. Yet sometimes the lines get blurred. When the guy you’re dating still has every bill paid by his parents, they control every decision he makes, and he cares more about what Mama thinks than what you think – newsflash – struggle is ahead. One of the number one causes of divorce is relationship difficulty with in-laws. No family is perfect, but be sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to leaving, cleaving, and uniting as one. If there is trouble with drawing healthy boundaries before you’re married, there most definitely will be trouble later.
– Matt. 19:5

8. The Flirt, Cheat, Tempter – Behaviors established before marriage are not going to magically go away once you say “I do.” Sexual sin can be a deep trap of the enemy and once ensnared in these destructive patterns, they are difficult to break. The mistakes of the past should hold no control over our present and future. Watch for behaviors that signal trouble. Is he respectful to women? Does he flirt with your best friend or the waitress at dinner? Is he begging you to sleep with him? Red flag. Be careful that you have wisdom to see the true heart before you enter covenant relationship with one entrenched in sexual sin. You are worthy of respect, the one who loves you, will wait for you.
– 1 Cor. 6:18

9. The Liar – Every marriage must be built on trust. Without this as a firm foundation, you’re in for trouble from the beginning. So what about those “little white lies” you started noticing along the way? In reality, there’s no such thing as little white lies. Any lie is meant to hide, deceive, or manipulate truth. There is no room for dishonesty in a healthy, loving relationship. It’s a dangerous trap and you will always be left wondering what he’s hiding.
– Prov. 19:9

10. The One with Destructive Money or Work Habits – If you’re supporting your boyfriend and paying for everything now – this may not change much later. Is he a hard worker? Does he have a job? Is he a workaholic? Does he have secretive spending habits? Addiction to gambling? Insurmountable debt? Once married, these patterns can worsen when the stressors of family life and responsibilities mount high. Money problems and financial struggles are one of the main causes of divorce. Have the discussions before you’re married. Decide upfront if the two of you can agree on the big issues.
– Prov. 13:20

One truth – Nothing is impossible with God. Absolutely nothing. If you find these traits in one you love, or even in yourself, the hope is that He doesn’t leave us on our own to try to figure it all out. He brings help and healing for any situation.

credit: Olufamous