|Saturday, January 13, 2024
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
"And the LORD said unto Moses, wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:" Ex 14:15
he Lord God Almighty says this is your year, it is with great delight that I welcome you to another brand-new YEAR, Our Year 2024, our Year of Moving Forward. My sincere prayer for you is that from this year you shall move forward. In all areas that are pleasant and desirable you shall move forward. All obstacles, hindrances, embargoes preventing your forward movement shall be removed this year in Jesus name.
On many occasions the Bible encourages the children of God to move forward or go forward. In many cases it looks ridiculous to say the least. But there is only one option in life if you want to get to your destination, it is to move forward, your life destination cannot be in your past! Your past no matter how glorious, is usually not your best. We shall talk more about that later, but it is imperative that you know that God has a word or command for you this year. It is for you to move forward. Many get saved and get stuck. Salvation is the beginning you need to move forward in your Christian faith. The Bible encourages you to move from drinking milk to eating strong meat!
God is not only telling you to move forward he is telling you not to move backwards because it is dangerous! Jer 7:24.
I like discussing this topic. As a matter of fact the first book I wrote in 1995 is titled: The Way forward. The inspiration came when as a Nigerian in 1993, there was a political logjam in Nigeria. There was a man called MKO Abiola, he was the presumed winner of the general election then and the then President Gen Babangida and his cabinet annulled the election. There were student protests that led to many people dying on the streets, interim government formation and the nation was politically, socially, economically grounded to a halt. I was praying for Nigeria to come out of the woods, and then God gave me a message on the way forward.
Why You Need to Move Forward
God wants you to move forward. Maybe today you are in a state of despondency, a state of low spirits caused by loss of hope or courage. As they say life happens, may be life has happened to you. You suddenly lost your parents or child(ren). Maybe you lost your job, business or marriage. Like Isaac in Gen 26 everything around you is famine and drought. Or like Moses and the Israelites in Exodus 14, you are facing The Red Sea of life, the enemy Pharaoh and his evil cohort is behind, you can't go back, you can't go left or right. Or Like Joshua in Joshua 3 you are facing River Jordan, no bridge, no boat, you are wondering how did I get here! Maybe you are experiencing matrimonial logjam, your husband is not it or your beautiful lovely wife has suddenly become a stranger, the children have revolted, some have dropped out of school.
Maybe you are in a financial mess, no credit card, no line of credit, your credit rating is low, you are in deep debt, your house is facing foreclosure or you are contemplating filing bankruptcy.
The reason you need to move forward is because you are not where you need to be. You are a student, and you are called the 'dumbest' in your class like Ben Carson was, in the preliminary of his life before he went on to become one of the best neurosurgeons of his generation. You need to move forward to fulfill purpose.
Maybe your dreams are just not working out like that of Joseph and instead of you being in the palace you are in the pit. Maybe the enemy just shut down your body with all kinds of sicknesses, ailments and diseases. I need you to know even though all these troubles have come upon you, some to slow you down, or prevent you from going forward, this year like God sent Barnabas "the encourager" to Paul God is sending me to encourage you to move forward. As thy Lord lives, the Red Seas of your life shall become 'Red Carpets.' The same Isaac that was contemplating going from Gerar to Egypt experienced something that not only made him prosperous but made him the envy of his enemies. Those secrets are what I want to share with you. The reason you must move forward is because there is space for you on the top. Your sickness is not unto death. That terrible situation will disappear in Jesus' name. How to move forward is what is important.
What does moving forward mean?
It is to go in the direction that one is facing or traveling. The direction that you desire. The direction that is beneficial to you, your family and your generation. It is to avoid perambulation. It is to avoid moving in a vicious cycle. It to get out of pot holes and pit holes. It is to advance. It is pursuing your dreams and goals whether immediate, intermediate or long term. It is finding your way out of hopelessness, despair, discouragement, and low spirits. Moving forward means getting out of depression, obsession, suicidal tendencies and oppression. Going forward means making the necessary changes to attain your goals.
You will see as we peruse scripture and share experiences the things that propel people forward.
How You Will Not Move Forward
Let me show you how people get stuck and how they cannot move forward.
Murmuring and Complaining
The people of Israel had suffered tremendously in Egypt and God in his mercy performed many miracles to get them out. That God had a plan for them, but when they faced challenges as you saw above, they were afraid and began to whine, worry, murmur and complain. Those are steps many of us take. Some people will grumble against their pastor, spouse, and parents. Some will leave the church, marriage, school or business. That can only compound your troubles. You can quote me, I am a marriage counsellor by the grace of God, many people who left their marriage to marry other people are regretting it. They thought that a divorce was the best option when the heat was on.
Not seeking God's Guidance
Another way is to suddenly change the environment, without consulting God or having God's clearance. Imagine what the life of Isaac would have been if God did not forewarn him from going to Egypt (Gen 26). Most times we go from frying pan to fire because we do not consult God or look for counsel. When David wives and children were forcefully taken away, he still asked God, should I pursue? Will I recover all?
Dwelling in Disobedience
You cannot move forward if you keep dwelling in disobedience. When you have clear leading of God and you refuse to follow the situation gets worse. A case in study is Samson, he kept looking for Philistine women against all counsel until he totally destroyed himself. He lost his sight and was made to grind at a mill for years in enemy camp.
Deliberately Dwelling in Immorality.
Joseph was a slave boy desperate to fulfill destiny, but he was going from one trouble to another, the environment permitted him to enjoy sin, do the wrong things but he controlled himself. Many people who are desperate for money think corrupt and sharp practices, scamming and being fraudulent are the way out. It cannot be. The Bible says God is not the author of Confusion, (1 Cor 14:33)
The way forward is not looking back. "And when Pharaoh drew nigh, the children of Israel lifted up their eves, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them; and they were sore afraid: and the children of Israel cried out unto the LORD. " Ex. 14:10. "Remember Lot's wife" Luke 17:32
Jesus warned us to remember Lot's wife! What happened to Lot's wife, simply put, she looked back and became a pillar of salt. In thought and in action, if you want to make spiritual, financial, and material progress, the way forward is not to look back. If you look back, you will see the chariots, you will see the powers militating against your progress and you will have no choice but to be afraid. "And they were sore afraid" Your looking back does not help you. Paul in Philippians said
"Brethren, 1 count not myself to have apprehended: but this l one thing 1 do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if anything, ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you ". Phil. 3 v 13-15
How to Move Forward
To move forward you must accept some reality. No cross, no crown. No sowing, no harvest. No war, no victory. No battle, no breakthrough. No sacrifice, no better life. No death, no resurrection, Jesus did not become Lord and Saviour of all, without the crucifixion, burial, death and resurrection. Joseph's story would not have been so fascinating if he did not go from wearing a colorful coat of many colours to lonely times in the pit and solitary times in the prison. The reality is that the bad situation you are in now is what qualifies you and serves as a prerequisite for your moving forward. Have you realised that it is when situations are terrible that you take more aggressive steps to propel you forward?
Realise God Has a Promise/Plan For You
There are four classifications of scripture according to Dakes Annotated Bible. Promises, prophesies, commands and historical facts. Let me add one to it, principles. Look at all those who made progress significantly in the scripture they are people who believed in the promises of God. Take Abraham's case.
He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; Rom 4:20. What of Sarah? Through faith Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised. Heb11:10. Don't look to your background, abilities or resources; rather look unto God's Promises and put your trust in God. The Israelites needed not perish in the wilderness as they did if they trusted and acted on God's promises. The sad thing in our time is that many prefer to pursue hopelessness when hope is staring them in the face. Instead of turning the page and seeing the light they dwell in darkness and their situation spirals downward. Put your trust in God's promises.
Have A Plan
This is the beginning of a new year! What is your plan for making progress for breakthrough?
Having a plan is very crucial. Many people fail to make plans in life and are just hoping that things will happen anyhow or by chance. You'll never go far in life, if you don't learn to make plans! If God Almighty makes plans; then you need to plan too! There's a place for planning where you take responsibility to make plans for your life and your future. But your plans need to be in line with God's Word and His plan for your life as you ultimately allow Him to have the 'final say' and even alter any plan if He so wishes. We must be willing to submit our plans unto God as they can only succeed when we commit them unto Him! The overall starting point however, should be to seek God in prayer. Listening, being attentive and sensitive to Him to both lead and direct you in His Wisdom as you make your plans and then depending upon His blessings to help you execute and bring those plans to pass as you do your part. There should also be room to make changes as the need arises! Your plans must be flexible! It should not be like the laws of the Medes and Persia that cannot be changed! Make adjustments when needed - that's still part of the Planning process.
Strategy from God.
"And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will shew to you to day: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen to day, ye shall see them again no more for ever.14 The Lord shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace." Ex 14:13-14
Use the Rod
"But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the Sea" Ex. 14:16
What is the rod? The Bible. What is the rod? Your certificate. Something God has given you, something in your possession, something already in your hand, your talent, wisdom, knowledge, acumen, your business, your marriage, your character, charisma, sagacity, humility, your gifting. Use what is in your hand. Use the rod for a godly purpose. Use the rod. Apply it! Do you know that the difference between a foolish man and a wise man is based on utilization of knowledge? Yes! They both have knowledge. The foolish man ignores knowledge or misapplies knowledge. The wise man uses it. In 2 kings Chapter 4, a woman was in debt, she came to the man of God, he said what do you have and she responded "a little oil in a cruise". Use that little oil in the cruise! How did Naaman get out of leprosy? A little information from the house girl in his house. Maybe all you need to get out of your situation is this little article you are reading. Use it. How did Joseph get out of prison- interpreting dreams! In Mark chapter 10- how did blind Bartimaeus get out of blindness, by shouting, 'Son of David have mercy on me.' They said shut up. He shouted the more. Maybe all you need do is ask for help, instead of dying in silence and committing suicide! Everybody has a rod. My doctorate supervisor Professor Omorodion in UNIBEN said, what you are looking for is always around you. Let me add my own hypothesis, what you need to move forward in life is already in your hand!
Jesus is the Way Forward
There is a spiritual component in addition to the practical and physical ways of using your rod as I mentioned above. If you have come to Christ, He is enough for you. Jesus is the way forward. This includes praying, believing, relying, and trusting on Him. For instance, your business is not moving. No sales. Ask yourself, "Have I paid my tithe"? A man's business crumbled, totally. He came to the pastor for counselling and prayer, the pastor asked, "do you pay your tithe?" He was offended and went away. He got home, told his wife how annoyed he was because of the answer the pastor gave "he did not pray for me" he fumed. The wife asked what was wrong with the pastor's question. She told him to go and pay his tithe if he was not doing so. He started paying his tithe and business blossomed and expanded from Canada to China, Indonesia etc. He gave that testimony in a Mission- Fest event I attended in Toronto. I invited him to be the guest speaker in our Men Fellowship Retreat that year. Ask yourself "Am I living in sin?" "Am I praying?" What have been my confessions towards this job, this marriage and these children? Maybe all your confession is that, the market situation is so bad, there is no money in circulation, teachers are not paid, oil workers are on strike. The economy is bad, we are in recession? Now use that same mouth to divide the Red Sea. Kneel down and confess your sins. Speak the word of faith to your business. Believe your prayers. The Red Sea will part. If your child is not getting it, are you quoting this scripture- He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. Prov 29:1. Do you want your child destroyed or to get better? If you want your child to improve then use the right scripture that will make them get better. Remember, what you say to God's ears is what he will do. Numbers 14:28. Change your scripture and confession to- But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. 1Pet 2:9
"But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. "Jer 7:24
My prayer is that you will not be part of the category of God's people that will not listen. You will not be part of those that will go backward like Demas (2Tim 4:10) in Jesus' name One of the reasons God said to Moses to stretch its hand on the Red Sea to close it up is to ensure that the children of Israel do not go back. I remove every bridge that will cause you to go backslide in Jesus name.
Conclusion: I see a dry land in the midst of great Read Sea for you this year. I see a 100 feet tall wall of water formed instantaneously on both sides, and you walking through victoriously. I see you walking on solid ground. The Red Sea has become your red carpet. All it takes to move forward is not looking back, not complain or grumbling but using your rod, the Bible, talent, resources what is in your hand that God has given you. Do your job diligently. I have said it on several occasions prayer is not a substitute for hard work and diligence in your office or business! Yes, you have to do both. Pray hard and work hard. Remember the rod had always been with Moses. Remember he used it very well in earlier days in Egypt. But suddenly he had forgotten it. Maybe you used to pray fervently previously when confronted with' problems. You knew prayer as your rod but now you have forgotten. God says, stretch the rod, go forward, don't look back, don't use long leg, long hand, long tongue, just pray. Just believe. Don't be intimidated by the circumstances. Just do the necessary! The Red Sea will part for you in Jesus' name.