Inspirational Articles > Exhort one another so much the more as you see the day approaching
‘Exhort one another so much the more as you see the day approaching’
Here at Last!
The long-awaited Year 2000 is here at last. Besides the celebrations that ushered in the year, nothing else appears to be different. appears like any other sorts of excuses. Thank you, Lord for your patience with me. For some of us, obedience could mean the difference between life and death, as was the case with Jonah; for some, it could mean being willing to do whatever He says, as foolish as it may seem, like pouring water into jars when the wine ran out at the wedding feast. The mother of Jesus had said to those servants at the wedding at Cana of Galilee, “whatsoever He asks you to do, just do it”. Praise the Lord, I got there at last.
So, dearly beloved, please bear with me if you receive this - em, what do I call it? ‘Newsletter’; ‘Exhortation’, ‘Admonition’ ... or what soever you choose to call it ... letter. For me, it is simply called an ‘obedience’ letter. That is, taking the bold step to do “whatsoever” He has asked me to do. In any case, I hope you would be richly blessed by the contents. After reading it, you may wish to pass it on to someone whom you think will be blessed by it. I’m sure you do realise too that your feedback would bless me as well. Remember, ‘iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend’.
The Bible says we must not despise the day of small beginnings. Who knows how far a simple ‘obedience’ letter like this can go. We are encouraged to “exhort one another so much the more as you see the day approaching”. Therefore, we cannot have too much of the Word of God. As a matter of fact, we do not seem to have enough. Please give us more, Lord, in Jesus’ Name.
Now, let us get into some serious business - “HEFFO ‘99”, what is it all about, you may ask. A few days after Christmas, whilst seeking the Lord in prayer, He started speaking to my heart very seriously, and He went on for quite some time. It was one of those intimate moments when God spoke to me, as one spoke to a friend. The year 1998 was gradually rolling away, and in a few days, I
would be facing the reality of a new year - 1999. I found myself asking what sort of a year this was going to be. You know it is common for many people at the beginning of a new year to make ‘new year resolutions’. For me, this was not a matter of resolutions at all. It was something much more serious. I suddenly found myself reflecting deeply on the past. I found the spirit of the Lord taking me through some of my very exciting years of Christian experience - those years when Christ was everything, and I mean everything. Then suddenly, I found myself facing the reality of those years when things were not as they ought to be. You know what I mean. Praise God, His ‘Well of Mercy’ is SO DEEP, that we can never exhaust the fountains of love that are so richly stored in them. It is often hard to face the reality of letting Him down, especially when we have known Him so intimately. Peter found himself in this situation. He promised Jesus that even if everyone forsook Him, he would not. Yet we all know what happened! Praise God for a repentant heart. Yes, many times I’ve found myself coming back to Jesus like Peter did.
Then, the big question that we need to stop and ask ourselves is how long shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Paul queried how we could be delivered from sin, and yet be bound by it? Dearly beloved, there comes a time when we must decide that we have had enough. Enough of game playing, and getting serious with God. Paul said “when I was a child I spoke like a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things”. This Christianity business is no joke. The clock is ticking, and every passing day brings us closer and closer to the coming of the Lord. We cannot afford for that day to meet us unprepared.
So, whilst musing over all these, I found myself saying to the Lord, ‘all right Lord, what exactly do you expect from me in the coming year, and the days ahead? Is it not the case that we are always the ones telling the Lord all we want Him to do for us? This time, it wasn’t me asking the Lord. it was the Lord making me aware of what He expects from
me, and indeed from many of His children this year. Before I knew what was happening, these four letters emerged - H.E.F.O.
H - Holiness
E - Excellence
F - Focus
O - Open Heavens
and then the Lord added a fifth ‘F’, Favour (Divine Favour). That is, H.E.F.F.O.
It was as if the Lord was saying that if we were very serious in applying the first three, the remaining two would automatically follow. This is what the ‘obedience letter’ is about. Remember, it’s all about doing what He has asked me to do.
And guess what, was I not encouraged at the New Year’s Eve prayer time at the Prayer Tower? Wa oh! it almost blew my mind. Does not the Word say that ‘out of the mouth of two or three witnesses a matter shall be established’? The single word that featured at that prayer meeting was ‘HOLINESS’. God is calling His people into a life of total and complete surrender to His will. ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’ is a command for every one of us. The time to play church is over! Sometimes, we hear about something so much that it almost loses its meaning. This is not what I’m talking about here. Also, ‘holiness’ is one of those words that has been subject to so many interpretations. Again, I was encouraged because what the Lord shared with me as I sat in His presence, was confirmed through the words that came out at the Crown House Prayer Tower (in Sunderland). Holiness is all about going all out for God, and serving Him whatever it takes and whatever the cost.
The Bible says ‘let your moderation be known unto all men; the Lord is at hand’. Holiness and excessiveness in anything we do are incompatible. Jesus Himself helped to clarify the type of holiness He expects from His Bride - the Church. He said that it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a man, but what comes out of a man’s heart. ‘For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man’ Matt. 15:18-20’. Holiness will produce in us the fruit of the spirit as found in Galatians 5:22-23 - ‘Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness. temperance’
God is holy, and He demands that we be holy, too. He says He is coming for a church ‘without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing’. The Lord would help us to understand what exactly this means. The Bible reminds us that the flesh and the spirit are at war with each other (Galatians 5: 17); the flesh trying to stop us from pleasing God. But if we
‘walk in the spirit, we would not fulfill the desires of the flesh’ (Gal.5:16). Now is the time to ‘PUT OFF your old nature which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and PUT ON the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and HOLINESS. Therefore, PUTTING AWAY falsehood, let every one speak the truth with his neighbour, for we are members one of another. Be angry but DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and GIVE NO OPPORTUNITY TO THE DEVIL. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labour, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. LET NO EVIL TALK come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear. And DO NOT GRIEVE THE HOLY SPIRIT of GOD, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let ALL bitterness and wrath and clamour and slander be PUT AWAY FROM YOU, with all malice, and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. BE IMITATORS OF GOD, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God’ (Ephesians 4: 22-5: 2).
Beloved, the night is far spent, the day is at hand. Let us watch unto prayer; let us watch with patience, and be sober. This is the time to seek the Lord until He comes and reigns in righteousness in our lives. As we expectantly look forward to the end time revival that will usher in His return, what manner of men (and women) ought we to be in all manner of conversation and godliness?
Dear friends, our God is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him against that day. Let us be rest assured that He who has began this good work (the year 1999) in us, will surely perfect it (bring us faithfully unto the end) with testimonies galore, in JESUS NAME. I give Him the glory for the grace to be obedient to Him in sending you this letter. Obedience to Him will open the doors of unlimited blessings which He wants to unleash into our lives this year. Yes, we are called unto a life of holiness, excellence and focus - fixing our eyes on the race that is before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. As we do this uncompromisingly, His divine favour will continuously be our portion, and the heavens will be opened unto us, such that we would not be able to contain it. These are exciting times to be alive, and it is indeed a great privilege!
God bless you.
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