ON THE THEME: VISION OF FAITH (OLD TESTAMENT PERSPECTIVE) by Bishop Dr. J. Akin Atere

PAPER DELIVERED AT FAITH CONFERENCE 2014 HELD ON THE 5TH APRIL, 2014 AT DOROTHY IKOKU MEMORIAL ANGLICAN CHURCH (DIMAC) 35A LADOKE AKINOLA STREET, G.R.A. IKEJA

ON THE THEME: VISION OF FAITH (OLD TESTAMENT PERSPECTIVE)

TEXT: MARK 8:31-33

“And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he spake that saying openly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.”

INTRODUCTION

In the text, Jesus was looking beyond the cross looking at victory after the resurrection that was promised, whilst Peter was bothered at the suffering and death that he was about to witness. What I see demonstrated in the statement of Jesus is: Ability to believe in the promise of God and be ready to stand and face the consequences that may want to challenge us to doubt the power and authority of God.

I see here the power of divine eye (absolute trust/faith) in God who cannot deny His word, as different from the eye that is ordinary or physical and can only see unstable objects. I read from the passage the difference between the natural and the supernatural, what is earthly and what is heavenly, the limitation of man and the unlimited God. How you interpret what you see depend on the angle or the type of eye used. As specified by Jesus, there are things of God and there are things of men. No matter how brilliant, wise, intelligent, innovative, excellent and responsible man may be, he is still man with wide range of limitations. 2 Chr. 16:9 says God’s eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless towards Him. He sees the secret of every man. Man can only see object one after the other but God sees altogether. Man’s eyes are full of envy, but His eyes are full of goodness. Prov. 21:2 “Every way of man is right in his own eyes but the Lord pondereth the hearts.” Heb.4:13 “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” It shows that many things are right in the eyes of men but are abomination in the sight of God.

The eye of ‘faith’ sees beyond the physical, it sees beyond the human eye, faith is frequently used in the scripture under the metaphor of “bodily sight”. Our Lord said of the great Patriarch “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day…and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56) meaning that his faith looked forward to the day of Christ humiliation and exaltation. Paul was commissioned unto the Gentiles to “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.” (Acts 26:18). In other words, to be the Divine Instrument of their conversion through preaching to them the word of faith. Faith receives or takes messages from above into the heart as they are presented to the soul’s view in the light of the Divine revelation. You need sufficient faith to see in the eye of God. You can live with your enemies for years without seeing or noticing his/her bad intention (Bi o roju mi oo rokan mi Demo ni mo dibo fun). Don’t trust your eye always but you can always trust your faith in God’s promises. As long as you continue to believe in your eye, you will quarry so many things, blame yourself on many decision taking, get frustrated with the silence of God, misunderstand your existence, ignorant of many events. Jesus said in John 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

True faith requires that we believe everything God has said about Himself and everything he has said about us. Until we believe that we are as bad as God says, we can never believe that He will do for us what he says. The Bible says in Luke 9:23-24 “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” ; John 11:25-26 “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”.

You should be able to say with Job  “I know that my redeemer lives and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh, I will see God; I myself will see Him with my own eyes, I and not another.”

FAITH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

In most cases God’s promises in the Old Testament took time to fulfill and the process of fulfillment involved suffering and adversity. Abraham’s life had its own trials. He suffered because of his deception concerning Sarah, his impatience in acquiring a son through Hagar. His life was not one uninterrupted bliss, yet he was blessed of God in every way. (Gen.24:1) “And Abraham was old, and well stricken in age: and the LORD had blessed Abraham in all things.” Joseph, one of the Bible great heroes and a son of Jacob, suffered a great deal in his early life. Later, Judah and his brothers suffered much over their ill-treatment of Judah (Gen.37-45). The Israelites were greatly blessed in number while they sojourned in Egypt (Exo.1:5-7). Their numerical growth concerned the Egyptian and brought about a time of great persecution and affliction. Foolishly they sought to keep the Israelites subject to them as slaves and to keep them from leaving their land (Ex.1:8-22). The trials and afflictions of the Israelites did not end with their Exodus from Egypt. They journey to the Promised Land, went through many trials. These trials came from the hand of the God who had promised to bless them. “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep His commandments, or not. And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live. Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years. Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.  Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.”  (Deut.8:2-6) God’s early blessing was dependent upon Israel’s obedience to His law. If His people forsook the law, then earthly cursing “See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil; In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it. But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them; I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.  I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Deut.30:15-20). The implication of this passage is that most of the time we don’t know why we are passing through certain terrible situations but God knows especially when you disobey His laws. No sinner goes unpunished. Many were the times in Israel’s history when God brought calamity upon His people due to their sins, yet the nation never seemed to learn her lesson (Psalm 78). At another times, Israel’s suffering was not due to her unbelief and rebellion. These were much more perplexing times as we see from the agony of this Psalmist 44:4-26. It shows there are times when God’s people suffer innocently vs 22 “Yea, for thy sake are we killed all the daylong; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.” Such suffering serves as a text of faith and obedience as we see from Job’s experience precisely at time like those. God’s people find their perspective changing and discover God’s presence as their true source of blessing.

In the Old Testament we find that while the righteous were those who believed God’s promise of blessing, they were also those who suffered innocently. David suffered for his sins (Psalm 32) but also suffered innocently for the lord’s sake (Psalm 22). In the early days of David, he was misunderstood and chided by his brothers (1 Sam.17:20-30). After David was anointed as Israel’s future king, and Saul’s replacement, David spent his days fleeing for his life from Saul who was bent on killing him (1 Sam.18-31).

When Adam and Eve disobeyed the command of God and sinned in the Garden of Eden, sin entered the human race. Along with sin came the curse. Eve was cursed with pain in the child-bearing and with the dominion of her husband over her. Adam was cursed with hard labour, providing for his family by  the sweat of his brow. Both were cursed with death by being banned from the garden and tree of life. Later the Blessing of  God directly relates to two matters (i) the overcoming God’s curse and (2) the cursing of Satan which promise his condemnation and destruction.

The Abrahamic covenant takes up these promises of blessing “Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: and I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing; (Gen 12:1-2) God promised to bless Abraham and his offspring. He also promised that He would become a blessing to all who would bless him. God’s promise to Abraham included a “land” and a “seed”. Abraham’s seed was to begin with a son. This child was not merely an adopted “heir” but Abraham own son (Gen.15:1-6). He was not only to be the son of Abraham but of Sarah as well (Gen.17:15-21). The first recorded promise of Abraham’s son was made when he was 75 years old (Gen.12:4) Yet the child was not born to Abraham and Sarah until he was 100 years (Gen.21:5) Abraham had a 25 years wait for the blessing of a son. God’s promise was not only a son, He also promised to make him a “great nation” (Gen.12:2;15:5;17:5-6). Abraham was 160 years old when Jacob and Esau were born. The “Great Nation” was still one seed, (Jacob). It was not in Abraham’s lifetime that the  promise of a great nation was fulfilled. God also promised a great land that his “seed” would possess. This was the land of Canaan (Gen.12:5-7; 13:14-15) whose boundaries were more fully define in Gen.15:18-21. Surprisingly at the time of Sarah’s death, the land of Canaan was possessed by the Canaanites (Gen.12:6) and Abraham did not own any part of the promised land. He had to buy a small parcel of  ground for a burial site for his family (Gen.23:1-20). In his lifetime Abraham did not possess the  land. God clarifies the promise in (Gen.15:13-16) “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” From later history, we know that because of Joseph’s ill-treatment by his brother, he was enslaved in Egypt. As a result, Jacob and his family move to Egypt where they became a great nation. The land of Canaan was not to be possessed until Abraham’s offspring had been oppressed and enslaved for 400 years. Nearly 600 years passed from the promise to the time his “seed” actually acquired the land. God was in no hurry to fulfill His promised blessing.

All of the prophets of Israel were resisted, rejected and persecuted because they spoke to men of God: And the Lord, the God of their fathers sent word to them again and again by His messengers because he had compassion on His people and on His dwelling place (the Temple) but they continually mocked the messengers of God,  despised His words and scoffed at His prophets, until the wrath of God arose against His people, until there was no remedy (2 Chronicles 36:15-16).

There were many other characters in the Old Testament times that through divine intervention performed what cannot be interpreted in the eye of natural man’s, when man  of wisdom will fail and something beyond understanding happen to shame the glory of man. Few of them will be discuss but not in sequence of order.

ESTHER

Though Esther was a Jew, she was taken as the wife of Ahasuerus, the king of Medes and Persians. This king had a minister in his court named Haman who devised a plot to eliminate the Jews. Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, learnt of the plot and told Esther to talk with the king about the wicked plan. Though Esther was the queen but their relationship was not like that of husband and wife. She needed to request an audience of the king just like anyone else would. To enter the king’s presence without an invitation could get Esther killed. Mordecai saw beyond the danger, he saw probably the  plan of God that was hidden from the sight of the ordinary. What he saw was “for such a time as this” Esther 4:14. She was one who could alert the king, Esther responded that she would stand up for her people even if it means death. She trusted God to guide her in revealing the evil plot against her people. By faith, Esther boldly reveal her heritage as a child of God’s people, (the Jews) and stopped wicked Haman’s plan.

GIDEON

After Israel inhabited the promised land, God sent various prophets and leaders to speak His word and lead the people before they had king. Gideon was one of the judges. God called him to lead Israel into battle with the Midianites. The Midianites had about 135,000 men. Gideon gathered an army of 32,000 men. However, God told Gideon that there were too many men in the army. Through a selection process, God whittled the Israelites army down to just 300 men. Gideon was scared because he could not imagine the risk he was taken, but he trusted God to prove His promise. God said, they needed a smaller army so that people would know that it was God who won the battle and not a large army. With new assurance Gideon return to his camp to begin the battle. The Midianites were so scared that many of them started fighting and killing one another thinking that Gideon’s army  was all around them. Through faith, Gideon with a small army conquered the Midianites.

ELISHA

Ancient Aram (now Syria) was at war with Israel, and the king of Aram was disturbed by the fact that prophet Elisha was able to predict where Aram’s army was planning to go, and passed that information to Israel’s king so that he could plan his strategy. Aram’s king decided to send a large group of soldiers to the city of Dothan to capture Elisha, so he wouldn’t be able to help Israel win the war against his nation “Therefore sent he thither horses, and chariots, and a great host: and they came by night, and compassed the city about. And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?” (2 Kings 6:14-15)  Being surrounded by a large army with no way to escape terrified the servant, who at this point could only see the earthly army that was to capture his master. See what happen in verses 16-17 “And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” God provides an army of angels leading horses and chariots of fire to protect the prophet and his servants and open the servant’s spiritual eye so he can see the angelic army surrounding them. Elijah prayed to the Lord, to strike the enemy army with blindness. If you see beyond the physical you will discover, you are not alone in the battle. Elisha told his servant “Don’t be afraid” Brethren; don’t be afraid “He who is with you is more than those who are in the world.”

 ELIJAH AND THE WIDOW OF ZAREPHATH

There was a great famine in the land of Israel in 1 Kings 17:1-2 “And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word and the word of the LORD…” caused by God. Elijah was told to go to the city of Zarephath that a widow is going to provide for him. When Elijah saw the woman, he asked for two things (1) a cup of water (2) a morsel of bread. The woman only had a little flour and oil that she was going to prepare for herself and her son, so that they will eat and expect death because that was the total hope. Even though the woman was in a desperate situation, she was willing to help Elijah (A man of God). She had tremendous faith in Elijah. She was sure that as long as Elijah remained a  man of God, he will do more than the ordinary. This passage also taught us to give. Proverb 28:27 “He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curse.” The woman never lack food throughout her life time. No wonder in the midst of scarcity in Nigeria some of you still live in abundance. “Praise God.”

ELIJAH AND THE JEZEBEL

In 1 Kings 19 when word reached Elijah that Jezebel had threatened his life, he ran. He prayed to the Lord and complained about how he was being treated (verse 10). The Lord answer to Elijah was thrilling (Verses 11-12). We see that what Elijah thought was not true. He thought God was silent and left alone but he later learnt that there were an army waiting in the  wings “Yet I have left with me seven thousand in Israel, all the  kneels which have not bowed unto Baal and mouth which hath not kissed him.” 1 Kings 19:18.

MOSES

In Exodus 4:1-9 There is an evidence that God made allowance for Moses weakness and self-distrust, severely tried as he had been by his former failure to persuade Pharaoh (Ex.5:1-5) and his  recent rejection by the people of Israel. (Ex.6:9). God later made allowance and  raised his courage and his spirits by fresh promises and call upon him for immediate action. The process of deliverance, God assured him. Miracle would be wrought until pharaoh’s stubbornness was overcome. He was himself to begin the series at once by casting his rod, that it might become a serpent. From this point Moses indifference wholly disappears. Once launched upon his Heaven-directed course, assured of his miraculous powers, committed to a struggle with the powerful Egyptians king, he persevered without blenching or wavering until success crowned his efforts “I have made thee a god to Pharaoh”, says YAWEH to Moses. Moses was indifferent of appearing a second time before Pharaoh, who was so much his worldly superior. God reminded him that he is in truth very much Pharaoh’s superior. If Pharaoh has earthly, he has heavenly power.  He is to Pharaoh “as a god” with a right to command his obedience and with authority to enforce his commands. Can you imagine a man from the tribe of slave proclaiming as god to the almighty Pharaoh. It takes the authority that is  beyond ordinary which Pharaoh could not see until he perished together with his army in the sea. There is an unseen hands that can put shame and perish your Pharaoh.

DANIEL

The group of men who had convinced King Darius to write an edict had seen Daniel praying to God, went to the king urged him to enforce the edict “that anyone who prays to any god or human being in the next 30 days except to Darius, shall be thrown into the lions’ den” (Daniel 6:7) King Darius was distressed about having to punish  Daniel because he appreciated Daniel strong moral character and faithful service: that was  why he planned to have Daniel  follow him as leader in his kingdom. He was determined to rescue him but the men reminded him that the kingdom’s laws prevents him from repelling any edicts he has already issued. So, reluctantly, the king orders Daniel thrown into a den of lion. Verse 16 record king Darius telling Daniel “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you.” A stone was placed over the mouth of the den and the king seal it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles so that  Daniel’s situation might not be changed. At the first light of dawn the king hurried to the den, he called to Daniel in an anguish voice ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been  able to rescue you from the lions?’ Daniel’s faith in God intrigued king Darius, because he saw the positive impact that faith had on Daniel’s life. Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent His angels, and he shut the mouth of the Lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you.” Not only did the angels close the mouths of the hungry lions so they couldn’t devour Daniel, but the Angel also kept Daniel company throughout the Night. There will always be a messenger from God with you during your nightmare, lighting up the darkness of the lion’s den with angelic light to the amazement of your enemies.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Isaiah 55:8-11.

I believe there are still thousands of Christians in Maiduguri, Yobe and the whole of North East that are still for Christ. You are not alone in your struggle. Ask God to open your inner eyes you will see multitude guiding and fighting your battle.

WHO ARE THE KINGDOM GIANTS AND HEROES OF FAITH?

From the text Mark 8:31-33: In the eye of Peter, Jesus is too big to suffer, too holy to die a shameful death, too giant in faith for any or crowd of unbelievers to capture. To him, Jesus is extra ordinary man, respected and possessed formidable quality.

Today also, there are different ways Christians measure giants of faith, some of which are carnal and negative. For instance, we make mistake of taken an anointed man or man of power for a giant, even though he will melt before every ordinary Delilah like Samson. We equally make mistake of one that can fast, pray and pull crowd like John the Baptist as a giant even though the slightest disappointment will throw them off balance in their convictions. We at times also make mistake of a preacher of a catchy message for dynamite whether he is a living example of his message or not. On the contrary we can see those in the scriptures that heaven bears their record as great people few of which we have discussed earlier.

Criteria to measure giant of faith with Christlike nature are:

  1. Ability to bear and forbear without questioning God in the face of trial.
  2. Persistent faith in the face of persistent trial.
  3. Stubborn faith for stubborn trials.
  4. Unquenchable desire never to let heaven down come what may.

The book of Hebrew chapter 11 talks much about these Old Testament giants of the kingdom whose record is still the subject matter of many preaching today even though some of them did not have any access to the pulpit while on earth.

They were people of faith who were not controlled by surrounding circumstances but grasped things which were not as though they were.

They were people of good report before God and man, because of their challenging and exemplary lives.

They never staggered at God’s promise, neither spoke they against Him because of their problems or trials, they maintained their spiritual integrity whatever happened. So also the grace of faith will help and keep us through all the dangers we come across on our way to heaven.

They resigned their own will and wisdom to the will and wisdom of God. E.g. Abraham, no wonder he had no equal because he operated on the grace, will and wisdom of God because he was sure of God fulfilling His promise. Such people may not know their way but way they know their guide (Divine Promise).

They may not know what tomorrow holds since they know who owns tomorrow, they are confident.

Vs 13 they are sure that live by faith and die in faith i.e. they sold out their faith to the last. They see the promise by faith, they are persuaded by it, they embrace it, confess it. They live as pilgrims in their world. They were in the world but not of the world, they maintain their focus and standard.

They are heavenly minded, sojourners in the world as heirs of the heavenly inheritance and this is manifested in all they do or think.

They are people who cannot see anything good in Egypt but in their Canaan so they have no cause of backsliding. Those who by virtue of their consecration and godly desire, God can identify with them and he is preparing a place for them.

Those whose age lends no negative effect to their integrity before God and man. They serve till death, there is no retirement with them but refiring.

Men that will forsake THE WORLD not minding the cost. There is faith plus its cost (endurance, perseverance, patience, etc.)

They are such that will keep even the least of the commands of God and the servants of God knowing that they are God’s mouthpiece.

They demonstrated practical faith because by their faith:

  • Subdued kingdoms and kings, they were winners and never losers, victors and never victims.
  • Wrought righteousness. They were workers of righteousness as it is more honourable in the sight of God to work righteousness than to work miracles.
  • Stopped lion’s mouth like Daniel as mentioned earlier.
  • Quenched the violent fire like Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo. Dan.3:17-27
  • Escape the edge of the sword by faith. E.g. David and Saul
  • Received their children raised to life again (1 Kings 17:22; II Kings 4:35)
  • Some of their actions looked foolish and unreasonable as Peter viewed the action of Jesus in our text but faith behind it always produced result like in the case of Jericho. All they did was to obey God’s leading.

They and their deeds were peculiar and if any ordinary persons attempt it, he/she will suffer for it. For example

  • They crossed the Red Sea, when the Egyptians attempted it, they perished in it.
  • Daniel went into Lion’s den and came out unhurt but his enemies on arrival they were turned to pieces.
  • Shadrack, Meshack and Abednigo went into the furnace and returned unhurt while those who threw them were slain by the heat of the fire.
  • Moses lived when other male children died because he was a “proper” child i.e. uncommon, covered with the beauty and glory of God.

OTHER FAITHFUL GIANTS ARE:

Abel – The son of Adam who was killed by his brother Cain (Gen 4:2,8) lived by faith and died for it. By faith he offered a more acceptable sacrifice than his brother Cain. By that grace of faith he that was junior became more honourable. Brethren, faith bring elevation; also injuries done to such never go unpunished for God fights for them as He fought Cain because of Abel.

Enoch – The Father of Methuselah walked with God (Gen.5:24) pleased God (Heb.11:5) and witnessed with his life for God (Jude 24) He knew the mind of God and did it, he pleased God and not men, his steps were ordered by God, he never took any step without receiving divine order.

Isaac – was a man of faith and confidence, so much that he offered blessing in advance of the things to come (Gen.27:27-29;39-40).

Joseph – a man of confidence and spiritual integrity who never stained his garment despite all he passed through, his faith was coupled with much endurance, perseverance without allowing discouragement, he got to the throne via the prison. God is aware of all that happens  to you including your travail, it’s a package that must be complete.

CONCLUSION:

God has and expects better life of faith from us, for we live in a generation with better privildges and promises. If only we believe in the promises of God and His ability to fulfill His promises. Some of which are in Ps. 34:17,19-20,50:15,91:3, Isa. 43:1, 46:4, Jer. 1:8,15:20, Obadiah 1:17.

As to power He promised in Deut 2:25, Deut.11:25, Josh.1:5, Ps.91:13, Isa.54:17. Let me borrow this from the New Testament Matt.16:19

As to reward – Psalm 37:18-19,34; Isa.40:31

As to victory – Ex.14:14; Deut.3:22, 28:7 & 13, Josh.23:10, 2 Chro.32:7-8

These are only few of the promises that will assure you of how much God loves you.  Will you then denied yourself of better priviledges because of your present predicament. Why can’t you see like Jesus that beyond the cross there are greater promises. Can you then stop looking with the eye of Peter that is so worldly, seeing only what is physical. If you believe in the promises of God, then, your faith must be resolute and be ready to fight any battle that will deny you your eternity you must finish the race not only well but strong in steadfastness. “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” (Job 13:15)

Are you going to be a winner or a looser? A victor or a victim? God’s desire is that we should be registered as one of the giants of our time, that will leave a mark on the sand of history, that we came and conquer. After darkness, there comes the light, victory after war, joy after sadness, celebration after mourning. There is light at the end of the tunnel. It is your turn to celebrate success and Victory, but KEEP THE FAITH.

 

Your bishop and friend,

 

The Rt. Revd. Dr. J. Akin Atere

Bishop of the Diocese of Awori

(Anglican Communion)