welcome you and myself in the name of the Lord to another brand New Year, our year of Deliverance and Rest. May you experience deliverance from all troubles that you have encountered and may you enter your rest in the year 2017.
This write up will be in two parts as God's blessing to you this year is double blessing, deliverance and rest.
What is deliverance? It is the act of being rescued or set free particularly from bondage. Remember how God delivered Peter from the bondage of Herod in Acts 12? How God delivered Israel from bondage of 430 years in Ex 12: 40-42. God is out to embark on deliverance of his people on individual, corporate, national and continental levels. Even the church that is suffering suffocation now, if they will listen to God and do his bidding, will experience a divine deliverance beyond their imagination. The synonyms of deliverance are: liberation, release, delivery, discharge, rescue, emancipation and more. Meaning that God's people will experience deliverance in diverse ways. Deliverance is so key in the Trinity's agenda that it was not only prophesied as part of the manifesto and mandate of Jesus on earth it was proclaimed as major assignment on his radar on earth.
"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" Lk 4:18
How do I get Deliverance?
In ensuring constant deliverance, God gave us a simple recipe as follows: If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14.
In this passage there are four things God says we can do for him to bring deliverance to us individually, land-wise, communities, nations and continents.
1. Humble Yourself.
The first major step for a turnaround and to have a breakthrough for anybody in need of deliverance is to humble himself, recognize and admit he has a problem. For instance, you have to know what to do when you are under any form of bondage, where to go when you have a problem. You don't take your car to the dentist to get it fixed, you don't ask a plumber to fix your teeth, and you don't want a janitor operating on your brain. They may all be experts, but there's a right person for the job, and you have to go to the right person. Only God can set you free from bondages, spiritual, financial or physical but you have to humble yourself for God hates pride of all shades. God declares: These six things the Lord hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood,18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil,19 A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren Prov 16:16-19.
In our time, we do not have time to ask God for forgiveness of sins. We rather treat God as our mates and most times as our errand boys, to command at will. We know how to bind and loose, pray for enemies to die! Humility is acknowledging your own contribution to your woes, after all, if the wall is not cracked, lizards cannot enter!
The biggest problem we have is we want to blame everybody else, we want to blame it on the preacher, boss, the wife/husband, the rebellious kids, and hypocrites in the church. We want to blame it on our environment, where we were born, what we didn't have, what we couldn't do, we should or would have done. I know that we all have things we could complain about, but there is no change and no deliverance until we admit, the problem lies with us. It's not my brother or my sister but it's me O Lord, standing in the need of prayer. There is a story that exemplifies our discussion:
"And the men of the city said unto Elisha, Behold, I pray thee, the situation of this city is pleasant, as my lord seeth: but the water is naught, and the ground barren. 20 And he said, bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him. 21 And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.2 Kings 2 20-21.
In this city the water was bad and Elisha was invited to handle the situation, shows that the men of the city humbled themselves: These men said: 'we are losing our future, No babies are being born.' These men made a decision that day to fight for their future, to fight for their destiny, to fight for their families, to fight for their sons and daughters. Currently there are many legislations and government policies that are polluting our lands. There is a satanic gender agenda that has hired the highest, powerful personnel of our time to promote and pollute our children in Canada and the Western World generally; it goes under the name of same-sex marriage and their symbol is 'Pride'. God says the way for our deliverance is to humble ourselves concerning the issue of ourselves and nations.
When it comes to deliverance, be prepared to pray or get someone to stand in the gap. During the year we shall be teaching and praying all manner of prayer, but for now it suffices to say prayer is a major way out of life issues, challenges and predicaments. "And it came to pass in process of time, that the king of Egypt died: and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage.24 And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.25 And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them." Ex 2:23-24.
Even though God has promised to deliver the people of Israel Gen 15:13 until they 'cried' nothing happened. Notice that God's intention was 400 years but they did not get out until 430 years, I guess they will still be there if not that they prayed. In our time prayer meetings have been abandoned and family altars sacrificed on the altar of social media. In those days people wake up and do family prayers. But today individuals access their WhatsApp messages, Facebook themselves and off to school or work. No wonder this generation is in so much trouble. This is my plea and the cry of God, bend your knees again for your deliverance. Enlist as intercessor for your church, land and nation. The issue of ISIS, Boko Haram, terrorism, same-sex marriage, sexual perversion, corruption, kidnapping and other national and global issues are not beyond prayers. Let us engage the divinity in prayer and watch deliverance wrought to us in all ramifications. The weapon of prayer is greater than any nuclear weapon! Read again the Israeli-Arab war of 1967 and see the effect of prayer.
3. Seek God's face.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Matt 6:33.Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have driven you, declares the Lord, and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile Jeremiah 29:12-14
To experience total deliverance is not only to humble yourself before God, and pray you need to continuously seek God intensely. In any case, you cannot seek God until you humble yourself. Seeking the face of God is a higher level of prayer. It involves doing whatever it takes to get the answer! Often it involves getting our relationship with God right and our relationship with others. How long are you going to keep going around the same mountain, fighting the same old battles, wallowing in curses, struggling with the same addictions, living in bondage, wrestling with the same fleshly lusts and desires, falling at the same place repeatedly, giving into the same temptations again and again before you are willing to admit you have a problem? Many a times we think deliverance is only about financial issues, divorce, poverty, stagnation, unprofitable business ventures, barrenness and character defaults. Sometimes they could be but there are other reasons for deliverance.
If you can't look at a pretty/handsome woman/man without lusts rising up in your heart, you have a problem. If you cannot be trusted with Internet when you are alone and you have to watch pornography, blue movies and related sites, you are under a curse and you need deliverance. If you can't see somebody else blessed with something nicer than what you have without becoming jealous, critical and envious, then you have a problem. If every time things don't go your way you run to the fridge and gorge yourself, you have a problem. If you still get angry and resentful and hold a grudge every time somebody says something about you or disagrees with you, you've got a problem. If your car can't drive past the casino without turning into the parking lot, or you engage in one gambling or the other, playing lottery, you have a problem. How long are you going to put up with curses, attitudes, addictions, hang-ups, lying, anger, barrenness, and lusts of the flesh that are self-destructive, and in absolute disagreement with the word of God, before you call for help. The only problem that is unsolvable, unfixable, and incurable, is the one you will not seek the face of God about.
Many a times when we have a curse on us we consult spiritualists, visioners, seers, prophets, psychics, counselors and pastors, even good friends. You may have good friends but it's not important how good a friend they are, you are not going to get the deliverance you need sounding out your problems to people who are struggling with the same problems you are dealing with. Jesus is the one who paid a price for your woes and challenges, seek him for personal deliverance. He is the author and finisher of our faith. A man of God travelled from Nigeria to America for a marriage conference. During the break- out session he went for a workshop. He said when they introduced all the speakers, three of them had divorced their spouses one or two times. He quickly ran out, saying except I want to learn how to divorce! Do not misunderstand me there are genuine Pastors who may be used of God to minister deliverance and destroy yokes and curses, but the message is to get out of challenges or any problem whatsoever, learn to seek the face of God for yourself. Jesus' admonition is 'seek first my kingdom and every other thing will be added.'
4. Turn from your wicked ways.
As you enter the year 2017, purpose in your heart to turn from your wicked ways. It is not sufficient for you to go to church, you must do what God demands from you. Stop bringing proceeds of sin to church as tithe and offering. Pastors, "screen" the offering on your altar. Show that you care for their souls more than what is on the offering plate. Deliverance from sinful acts are better tackled at the temptation level. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 16 Do not err, my beloved brethren. James1:13-16. Stop corrupt practices in the church, office or factory. The government alone cannot stop corruption it is you and I. Legislation has no power on corruption, if it has there will be no corrupt person on earth because there is no country that does not frown at corruption in their law and statues! Even God brought Jesus to redeem us from the curse of the law, because law only exposes our inabilities and weakness. I saw a cartoon recently that captures the situation, the Leader ask the crowd 'how many of you want change?' they all raised up their hands, he then asked 'how many of you want to change?' All the hands went down. Individuals must be willing to turn from their wicked ways for deliverance to come. To turn from your wicked ways genuinely love God in word and action. The power of the Holy Ghost also comes handy in turning from our wicked ways, compare Peter without Holy Ghost and Peter filled with the Holy Ghost.
God has declared this year a year of rest for you, embrace it. Believe it. Claim it. Rest in it. I believe God is looking at His church and could see it full of activities without corresponding production and efficiency and so declares - Let them rest! When a piece of land is over cultivated, the scripture says after seven years leave it to fallow. Ex 23:11
It was William Shakespeare that wrote "All the world is a stage, and all men and women merely players!" Whether after work or play, rest seems highly serene and desirable, but not to all. There are all kinds of understanding and misunderstanding on rest. Rest, to the teenagers bubbling with energy, seeking adventure in life, seeking admission to college, battling with which career to pursue in life, is surely not an illusion but at this stage of life not a subject of pursuit. Rest, to the youth and young adults in their late twenties and early thirties is not what they want to hear. They are in the prime of life, destiny is pursuing them or they are pursuing destiny! They are looking for who to marry, looking for jobs, starting their business, trying to figure out which country to emigrate to, queuing in various embassies for visa, how are they going to raise their children that are fresh bundles of joy to their young marriages. To them why should rest come now?
Similarly, to those in their forties and approaching fifties, rest is still far from their vocabulary, the uppermost thing to them is to establish and sustain all they have accomplished or about completing. It is about that building project. It is about paying down their mortgages, refinancing their homes, buying bigger houses or smaller houses. So, there is a pressure in all these stages real and imagined. There is a belief that people think of rest from their sixties when they are forced to retire from offices based on their age or years of service. Some even conclude the only resting place is the grave. The grave is not a place of rest, it is place of termination of a phase and transition to another.
What is rest?
Rest means cease work or movement to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. Rest, is defined as "peace, ease or refreshment." "Relax" means "to become loose or less firm, to have a milder manner, to be less stiff." The Bible speaks quite highly of rest. It is a repeated theme throughout Scripture, beginning with the creation week (Genesis 2:2-3). God created for six days; then He rested, not because He was tired but to set the standard for mankind to follow. I believe the rest God is calling for and promising you in 2017 is spiritual and only found in him. Surely your activities in various dimensions will either decrease or escalate but the rest God desires for you is total and easy. For the Christian, the ultimate rest is found in Christ. He invites all who are "weary and burdened" to come to Him and cast our cares on Him (Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7). It is only in Him that we find our complete rest-from the cares of the world, from the sorrows that plague us, and from the need to work to make ourselves acceptable to Him. We no longer observe the Jewish Sabbath because Jesus is our Sabbath rest. In Him we find complete rest from the labors of our self-effort, because He alone is holy and righteous
"Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass. "Psalm 37:7 The rest God is calling you to is to find fulfilment in Him. To find peace in Him. "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14: 33.
The rest God is calling you to is to have tranquility in the midst of chaos, terrorism, recession, poverty, within the human rat race, aggression and worldwide depression and recession. The rest God is calling you to embrace is comfort in a comfortless society. Will you?
How to find rest.
The question will be how will I find rest beyond just being told to accept Jesus as my Lord and Saviour, knowing fully that there are many Christians who are far from having rest. How do you I find rest in this terrible world? How am I able to maintain my marriage when divorce rate is two for three pence? How do I find rest when every youth around me seems to embrace everything that is against God in my generation? It does not matter where you are having restlessness now Paul through the Holy Ghost gave us some insight.
"For we which have believed do enter rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. "Heb 4:3
Let me share with you the simple ways to enter into your rest, socially, professionally, physically, financially and spiritually.
Document a plan. Maybe you have heard it several times but it has not entered your spirit. You are hearing it again, plan to enter into your place of rest in life. Make choices that will help you to enter the area of rest you badly desire. After reading this article, take a pen and paper or your iPad, how do I enter my rest this year. 12 months will pass again like a minute. The unfailing plan is to locate the Master planner, Jesus. Come unto me all you that labour and I will give you rest! Those who fail to plan have planned to fail, those who are not having Jesus in their plan cannot have rest.
Establish your priorities, your boundaries. You cannot have rest in this world and the next if you have no control. Every car and aircraft has a control panel that guides the driver and pilot to their destination. I worked in the refinery for years, the control room is the key place to guide the direction of production. Where is your control panel located? Whether you are a teenager or middle class, manage your emotions. Don't run wild on every information and opportunities. Use both your rear view mirror as well as your windshield. If you have no boundaries and focus you will squander 2017, God forbid!
Pursue your passion. That means practice what you believe, work hard in your profession. Paul says "Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest" "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made." Gen 2:2 For six rigorous days God worked hard and entered his rest. I watched a movie called "Far from Home" on my return flight this December from Africa on Ethiopian airline about a young African boy from Uganda who apparently has entered into his "rest" soon after his mum brought him to USA. He became a snow skit (Snowboarding) Olympian. Rest is sweet after Labour. This year you can enter your rest when you pursue your passion.
Protect your plans and priorities. It is said you are the architect of your fortune. When you have found your passion and you are on auto cruise, protect yourself from predators and spoilers. Eagles build their nests in secure places, not care less places. It is not just that you are a Christian do you practise the Christian principles. Going to church does not give you rest it is doing the bidding of the author of life. You don't just get paid at work because you have a letter of appointment, you get paid because you do what is necessary. Your marriage cannot have rest if you do not guide your eyes.
Identify what you value. I am not a prophet of doom, but I am a realist. The world's entropy (level of disorder) cannot decrease, it will increase. That is why God is calling you to rest in Him. You cannot do that without embracing some values. Make integrity your watchword. Paul also helps us in this area-"Finally brethren, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think of these things." Phil 4:8. In our time some people think corruption is virtue. They think they cannot 'make it' without cutting corners. They champion evil in governance, private and business life. Let me tell you the rest of such life- NO Rest. You cannot rest here or in the world to come. Your generation cannot rest. You cannot rest with the proceeds of evil. You cannot use money gotten by of wickedness to procure laughter. It's an African proverb.
Make decisions based on destiny. You cannot enter rest if you are not conscious there is hell and heaven and choose appropriately. The grave is not a resting place; grave is a place where bones are eaten by worms because you are made of dust. What is called man is your spirit, it will find another body that will appear before the Maker. Eternity is where your soul will find rest if it is heaven bound not in hell. There is no rest in hell. With each passing day you are closer to your grave.
Inventory your associates. Most times your character is influenced by your associates. Anybody in your circle of influence that will not let you enter into your rest in all ramifications must be identified and deleted. They are dangerous virus, and spyware in your computer of life. Use the bible as your Norton utility to identify them.
Review your investments, do not try to please everyone. People enter greedy mode and all sorts of modes to please people. Buying things to impress people that cannot be impressed. People lavish money on weddings, birthdays, burial, House warming ceremonies and all kinds of things to please people that cannot be pleased. Some Pastors even preach to impress people not caring about who sent them. I grew up with another proverb, ' that you fear the person who sent you on errand not the person you will deliver the message to". Jesus only pleased His Father, God. To enter your rest make it easy for yourself to please only God. Think about the book - In His Steps. What will Jesus do if he were in your situation? It is a way to enter your rest. 'But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Heb 6:11
Seek for help from right people where and when you need it. Be humble enough to know you need help to succeed. Human help and Godly help. You need the power of God to get into your place of rest. For example, we held the international Gathering of Eagles Conference in 12 nations in 2016. How? We sought for help where we needed it. The last segment was Africa. Specifically, Angola, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Ghana and Nigeria. It was our first time of going to the first three nations. To go to Mozambique, I called a friend in Ghana, who called someone in Swaziland, who called someone in Mozambique!
Forget the past and design a future that can give you rest. 2016 will never be seen again. The service you did not attend you cannot attend it now. The help you wished you gave to somebody you did not give, many things you wished you did but you did not do are no longer doable. That is why God is giving you a brand new year. So that you will not repeat the same mistakes. The best God can give you he has given you in the personality of Christ. "What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Rom 8:31. God has proved he is on your side by keeping you alive, by sending Christ to die for you on the Cross where he boldly declared "it is finished" he has given you a fresh opportunity to enter into your rest.
In conclusion, God has promised you that in 2017, it is double for your shame. He will deliver you from your terrible past, your fears, anguish, failure, unfruitfulness, and wasted years and guide your destiny to your needed rest in life. May you experience deliverance and rest.
Pastor Amos Dada celebrates Nigerian independence in Singapore for the first time and writes from there. Accompanied with Pastor Benjamin Akinrinola are currently on a tour of five nations Singapore,Thailand,Philippine, South Korea and China with a message from the Lord on how individual and nations can redeem the times.