No Story, No Glory
From frequent Failure to sustained Success
2 Samuel 15:23
The king also himself passed over the brook Kidron.
David passed that gloomy brook when flying with his mourning company from his traitor son. The man after God’s own heart was not exempt from trouble, nay, his life was full of it. He was both the Lord’s Anointed, and the Lord’s Afflicted. Why then should we expect to escape? At sorrow’s gates the noblest of our race have waited with ashes on their heads, wherefore then should we complain as though some strange thing had happened unto us? The KING of kings himself was not favoured with a more cheerful or royal road. He passed over the filthy ditch of Kidron, through which the filth of Jerusalem flowed. God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. It is a great joy to believe that Jesus has been tempted in all points like as we are. What is our Kidron this morning? Is it a faithless friend, a sad bereavement, a slanderous reproach, a dark foreboding? The King has passed over all these. Is it bodily pain, poverty, persecution, or contempt? Over each of these Kidrons the King has gone before us. “In all our afflictions He was afflicted.” The idea of strangeness in our trials must be banished at once and for ever, for He who is the Head of all saints, knows by experience the grief which we think so peculiar. All the citizens of Zion must be free of the Honourable Company of Mourners, of which the Prince Immanuel is Head and Captain. Notwithstanding the abasement of David, he yet returned in triumph to his city, and David’s Lord arose victorious from the grave; let us then be of good courage, for we also shall win the day. We shall yet with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation, though now for a season we have to pass by the noxious streams of sin and sorrow. Courage, soldiers of the Cross, the King himself triumphed after going over Kidron, and so shall you.
This devotional reminds me of my life in the Spirit. Charles Spurgeon, who wrote it was a prolific writer, anointed pastor and businessman in is time. He died young only 58. Someone said he did the work of 58 men. His devotionals are still as fresh as ever even after over 100 years since his death.
Not long after I came to know the Lord, over three decades ago, I had a little inkling about my calling- to inspire with music, poetry and song. About the length and the breadth of the ministry, I had no idea. Initially, I started with assisting in worship leading before tribulations took me to Ireland. It was there that the Lord opened another chapter in my calling- preaching.
God would not show you everything. It is one step at a time. We are called to walk by faith and not by sight. His ways are not our ways. He uses the troubles we face today to prepare us for tomorrow.
Besides, if we are shown some of the dark, horrible, lonely, harrowing wilderness, valleys and deserts passages we would be passing through, we may have a second thought.
Joseph only saw the in his dream, the end where his brothers and parents were bowing to him as a landlord or overlord. He did not see the pit and where he was stripped of his coat of many colours, nearly killed but later sold by his brothers as a slave and ending up in a foreign land as a servant. He did not see being tempted by his master’s wife in a foreign land, when he was in a position to empty his bank account and elope with her. He did not see the injustice that would greet him in this strange land and that despite his display of integrity and righteousness, he would end up being maligned and thrown into a foreign prison and forgotten by someone he helped. Gen37-41
God allowed bad things to happen to a good young god-fearing, excellent, wise man because He wanted him to go through that training and pruning and preparation process for the time ahead, when he would reign as Prime Minister and fulfil his purpose- ‘to save many alive’ in a time of severe famine in Egypt.
19 Joseph said to them, “Do not be afraid, for am I in the place of God?
20 But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.
21 Now therefore, do not be afraid; I will provide for you and your little ones.” And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them. Gen50:19-20
Joseph knew nothing of the promise God had made to his great grandfather, Abraham in Genesis 15:13
13 Then He said to Abram: “Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years. Gen15:13
God used Israel to mirror how He would work in our lives
In the divine plan of God, Israel would be slaves in a foreign land. He was using Israel as an object lesson or microcosm for the whole of humanity. We would be slaves until we come to Christ who will set us free from the sin (Satan’s house of bondage) resulting from the fall of Adam. Everything that happened to Israel and their experiences and their behaviours and attitudes in the wilderness are pictures of us all that can be replayed and evidenced in our lives as a people and the Christian in particular, even after being set free by the blood of Jesus. Indeed, the word of God is ‘spirit and it is life’.
If we examine our lives properly we will see ourselves in the mirror of God’s word and hear ourselves murmur as they murmured, despite seeing the miracles that God wrought in Egypt. We will see ourselves snaring at our leaders or helpers who are sent to help us and doing their best to lead us, even as Israel did to Moses. We would see ourselves at the ‘complain counter’, desiring the leeks and cucumber of Egypt whilst on our way to the Promised Land like they did. They were out of Egypt but Egypt was still in them. They complained when there was no meat or water or when the water they had was bitter. Is that not typical of many of us? We would also see ourselves misusing or abusing the blessing or favour God gave us because we do not know why we were given it. Remember how they used the jewels they obtained from the Egyptians to make a golden calf and worshiped it. This is what happens when we are blessed and do not appreciate why God blessed us in the first place. God has blessed us to be a blessing. He has given us gifts to serve others and glorify Him. He wants us to bless each other and realise that be belong to each other. The more we bless others the more fulfilled we will be. (Gen12:2)
5 We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic;
4 And he received the gold from their hand, and he fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molded calf. Then they said, “This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
8 They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’ “
I have discovered over the years that the more I give out what God has given me, the more He gives to me. And He encourages me from quarters that I least expect so that the glory goes to Him. Luke6:38, 2Cor9:6-8, Eccle11:1, Ps112:9, Prov3:9-10
Paul was mightily used by the Lord, but he was also very much afflicted.
16 For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” Acts9:16
God gave us Ananias a preview of what was awaiting Paul. Paul also knew he would suffer but there was no detail as we see below.
Suffering for Christ
22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? So am I.
23 Are they ministers of Christ? — I speak as a fool — I am more: in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often.
24 From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one.
25 Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep;
26 in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
27 in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness —
28 besides the other things, what comes upon me daily: my deep concern for all the churches.
29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to stumble, and I do not burn with indignation?
30 If I must boast, I will boast in the things which concern my infirmity.
31 The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying.
32 In Damascus the governor, under Aretas the king, was guarding the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to arrest me;
33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall, and escaped from his hands.
2 Corinthians 12: The Vision of Paradise
1 It is doubtless not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord:
2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago — whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows — such a one was caught up to the third heaven.
3 And I know such a man — whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows —
4 how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
5 Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities.
6 For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.
The Thorn in the Flesh
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure.
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So behind every glory, there is a story
We will all suffer our share of trials and tribulations, because unless we suffer with Him, we cannot reign with Him.
God knows what suffering He has ordained for us, depending on the ministry He purposed for us. If you see anyone mightily used by God, you need to be wise to find out how much they have been bruised, because unless you are bruised, you cannot be used. Those who are greatly anointed are also greatly afflicted. You may not see their pain or sorrow but behind the glittering glory is some furnace experience- refining and pruning that is uncomfortable; they have tasted gall that is unpalatable; furrows and ridges have been etched on their spiritual backs and God did not tell them it will be so, just like he did not tell Joseph, that they would go through such gruesome experiences. Such people will experience many apparent failures before they become successful.
That has been my experience, even though I am a long way from what God has in store for me. I can definitely identify with Joseph, David and Paul and Moses and the Lord Jesus Christ. And without a shadow of a doubt, God wants each one of us to have to identify with the sufferings of our Lord in one way or the other. “God had one Son without sin, but not a single child without the rod. “
17 and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
From Suffering to Glory
18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. Acts5:41
19 But when her masters saw that their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities.
20 And they brought them to the magistrates, and said, “These men, being Jews, exceedingly trouble our city;
21 and they teach customs which are not lawful for us, being Romans, to receive or observe.”
22 Then the multitude rose up together against them; and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods.
23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely.
24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.
All of our experiences in life are designed to bake us as a cake for the eating. What we go through are the ingredients of our making. God mixes the bad and the good and the crude to make a delicious ‘cake’ for others to eat of our cake just like we eat of others’ ‘cakes’.
To be used You have to be bruised
anointing attracts attack Part 1
from breakthrough to breakthrough
For instance why would God encourage me to continue to study professional Accountancy for 15 years of my life, even though it was not His will for me to be an accountant? He is all-wise and knows best. How would you feel after such a struggle which began in Africa and then took me to England and then to Ireland, only not to have an Accountancy Job in the end? How would you feel when you keep hearing ‘provision is in the vision’ again and again and you have been trusting a long time, yet it has eluded you? I have been in Abram’s shoes where he cried to God:
“Lord GOD, what will You give me, seeing I go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!”
4 And behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” Gen15
In Chapter17 God kept reinforcing His promise by changing the name of Abram to Abraham. It was kind of even more embarrassing. From then on people will be calling him ‘father of many nations’ when he had nothing to show for it. He had to take sides with God and wait for the fulfilment.
God did a similar thing to me too and I am waiting for the manifestation. Because God is a faithful God and I have seen His track record in the scriptures and in my life over the years, I know he will bring about my manifestation that have been in abeyance for long also.
In His time he makes everything beautiful. He is not a man to lie. He is faithful. He is always on time. Our times are in His hands. ( Eccle3:11, Num23:19,Heb6:18,Jer1:12,Isa55:10-11, Ps31:15,Gen21:1-3, Ps102:13)
‘My confession will bring a manifestation.’
All things are possible
to those who believe
I have prayed the word
and I will see
The word of God is so sure
Settled in heaven
It will accomplish
that which pleases Him
CH: I believe, yes, I believe and I will see
I believe, yes, I believe and I will receive
I believe, yes, I believe and I will see
And so I speak:
‘My confession will bring a manifestation.’
All things are possible
At such time I remember:
Oaks of righteousness shall stand in the fierce wind…
Look unto the Hills
Trust and be happy
Lead me Lord to my Promised Land
Show me your Glory
Sing, O Barren
Dominion Lost, regained
With the benefit of hindsight, I now know that although I was in the School of Accountancy in the physical realm, I was actually in a Spiritual School of the Holy Spirit too, and Accountancy was just a tool in God’s hands. In fact, all life is a School. Undoubtedly, though I had missed out on the generous, lucrative remuneration package that Accountancy would have offered, God’s package is better and incomparable because it will endure forever and would bless many who I may not meet and the glory will go to God. God would not share His glory with any other. His blessing makes rich and add no sorrow. I have to believe His word when I see my compatriots having worldly success- having holiday homes, portfolio of houses, able to on holidays, driving expensive cars etc, etc established accountancy firms or other ventures, whilst I am writing and singing songs and poems to encourage people I have never met and may never meet and persevering even when my finances are extremely tight at times. It is a walk of faith. The just shall live by faith. God is no man’s debt. And what is done for Him will eventually be rewarded and handsomely too. My pay is coming. For now like Paul experiencing my abasement and so have I, despite writing hundreds of songs and thousands of poems. I have to hold on to the word of God for my day of abounding:
I will wait until my change comes
Your kingdom will come
You’re not a man that You should lie
On You Lord I will rely.
Lord, You have exalted your word
even above even you name
I will stand on your word
I will hold on to what I have heard
My future are as bright
as you’re your promises, O Lord
Your word is ‘Yes’ and ‘Amen’
Lead me Lord to my Eden
I stand on your covenant
Established on better promises
Heaven and earth will pass away
But your word will abide always.
I have also had my relational and family problems some of which have inspired some of my songs: Songs from my struggles.
There tribulations were coded: ‘FELA’:
It was funny but it was also real , but through the trials or adversities, God also have me testimonies that have strengthened my faith and enabled me to grow in grace.
Daily I am reminded that David, the sweet psalmist of God, mined his sweetness from the furnace of affliction, and it helps me to endure hardness as a good soldier of Christ.
When the going gets tough, I remember:
My eyes are on You, Lord…
I will Call on Your Name
These songs also help me to pray whilst singing. I call them ‘Praysing’
Also when principalities and powers taunt me and challenge me, I remember the prophetic songs that God gave me:
There is a friend
Who sticks closer than a brother…
Peace be still…
He’s a faithful God
Your sun will never set again
When I think of my spiritual warfare with principalities and power over my vision, purpose and assignment, I think of :
Fight for your field
Sleeping giant awake…
It’s a spiritual warfare
When I become weary of my wilderness and desert experience the Holy Spirit reminds me of:
Pour on us a new anointing
Christ is alive
Behold I give you power (Tread down on serpents)
It’s a spiritual warfare
Be strong and courageous
be strong in the Lord
He that dwells
Who shall separate us
We are more than conquerors
I rejoice over you with a song
Sing a new song
God also encourages me with sermons some of which I preached at home to an imaginary audience. That is undoubtedly an act of faith and I have often used these to encourage myself when my faith-tank is low- just like David encouraged himself in His God in 1Sam30:8
He has also brought me to sermons I preached in Churches whilst wandering in the wilderness of Ireland. Though these were preached over 20 years ago, they are still fresh and they encourage me to keep trusting Him for the great things He has in store for me.
Great expectation from a great and mighty God (Isa43:18-19, Phil3:10-14, 1Chron29:11-13, Ps145)
God has opened my eyes to have a glimpse of how David did it.
Furthermore, God encourages me to see what He is doing in my life in terms of eternity and an assurance that nothing that I am doing in His name, as directed, goes unnoticed, even if not acknowledge here on earth. This is what keeps me going.
I thank God for the various skills He has enabled me to acquire- not only to writing song, play instruments but to record them, writing poems and preach sermons and create videos and marry them with the songs in a unique way. It is not by might nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Living God.
By the grace of God my partners will come from the East and the West, North and south to join hands with me to perfect and make the trickle and ocean to the glory of God.
When I was failing my Accountancy courses and repeating them when they were clawed back I felt like giving it up to pursue the ministry but I did not have a release to the course, so I persevered until I completed it in a record 15 years! and in three different countries. And when there was no work in that field I fell back on my teaching qualification. There again I had some hard times when my overseas qualification which was initially accepted, became obsolete. It was a struggle to go back to studies again on a different career path and even after passing the course, there was another barrier- obtaining a recognised teachers status. I thank God that By His grace that hurdle has just been crossed in the last two months.
So you can see the barriers that stood my way in Accountancy. I did not have the opportunity of working in an accountancy firm whilst studying for the course. The only experience I had before qualifying was for a few weeks. I certainly had many years’ experience as a cleaner and warehouse operative- picking, carrying and packing despite a bad pain. It was the cleaning work that landed me on trouble with the authority and this led to my going to Ireland (‘exiled’) to continue my studies. It was like Moses who ran to Midian. God used all my adverse these experiences to mould me, refine and prune me. I remember living in ten different addresses in Ireland as a student and not allowed to work. It was a walk of faith for eight years. Often I lived rent free as an Au pair or caretaker or cleaner of a church. God also used people to bless me from time to time whilst the Holy Spirit was birthing songs in me in my struggle. (Rom8:28) He gives us songs in the night. (Job35:10)
Heaven Hear my voice as I sing
This song was birth when I was about to be allowed to go back to England after 8 years, but I faced more delay and disappointment like Joseph, before the King dreamed and the butler remembered.
You Must Be Born Again
was composed not long after I was born again and so was
Come Comforter. Came when I wanted revival in my life
When in search of divine direction, these were some of songs that came:
I will instruct you
The Best is Yet to Come
The best is yet to come
To those who are patient
Those who are redeemed
Blood-bought and blood-kept.
The best is yet to come
To those who just wait
For His Kingdom to come.
Waiting has a lot of weight.
The best is yet to come
To those who will not give up
Those who will not give in
Those who refuse to be stopped.
The best is yet to come
To those born again
Those who have aligned
With the King, to reign
The best is yet to come
Those who are heirs of God
And joint heirs with Christ;
Those in this world
But not of this world;
Those who are the salt
Of the earth,
The light of the world,
City on a hill,
His hands and feet,
His aroma on earth
And royal priesthood,
Seated with Him
In heavenly places,
Whose names are written
In the Lamb’s Book of Life.